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Post-Election Audits

Post-election audits can ensure votes are recorded and tallied accurately and help restore public confidence in elections.

Overview

Public concerns about election security spiked following revelations about foreign interference with the 2016 presidential election. One way to confirm whether votes are recorded and tallied accurately — and, in turn, help restore public confidence in elections — is to perform a post-election audit. 

In a risk-limiting audit, considered the gold standard of post-election audits, election officials hand count a sample of paper ballots to provide strong evidence that the reported election-night result was correct. These audits, which can only be carried out when there’s a voter-verifiable paper record of each vote, are typically conducted publicly and can provide voters with confidence that a counting error or malicious attack did not change the outcome.

The Brennan Center promotes post-election audits as a key component to securing elections against foreign interference and advocates for voting methods that produce a paper backup of each vote and mandatory risk-limiting audits.