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EXPLAINER: What’s with all of the election audits?

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EXPLAINER: What’s with all of the election audits?

2020-11-21 05:00:09


As they search to overturn – or at the least forged doubts on – the outcomes of the Nov. 3 presidential election, President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have zeroed in on a routine and customary course of: post-election audits.

Till now, the Trump marketing campaign’s flurry of authorized challenges hasn’t unearthed any proof of widespread voter fraud, and election consultants in addition to state and federal officers have mentioned there was none.

Nonetheless, Trump and Republicans are calling for audits in states the place the president misplaced, whilst they dismiss the outcomes of audits that had been already accomplished.

WHAT IS A POST-ELECTION AUDIT?

Most states have legal guidelines requiring audits after elections, whatever the margin of victory. That’s not as a result of they assume one thing is incorrect. They only wish to be certain voting gear functioned correctly and election procedures had been adopted.

Normally, officers will take a part of their paper ballots and match them towards outcomes from their digital voting machines. That’s to verify there are not any errors or potential cases of fraud.

If there are discrepancies, state legal guidelines set off a extra thorough accounting of votes, though how that’s executed varies by state.

A post-election audit is totally different from a recount, which occurs when there are a small variety of votes separating the candidates or when requested by a candidate.

WHERE ARE REPUBLICANS ASKING FOR AUDITS?

It’s occurring in a number of states directly.

In Arizona, the place President-elect Joe Biden gained, the state Republican Celebration requested for a brand new hand depend of a pattern of ballots in Maricopa County, which incorporates Phoenix and is the place a lot of the state’s inhabitants lives. The explanations cited? Legal professionals for the GOP say they wish to see if voting machines had been hacked, though there isn’t any proof of fraud or hacking of voting machines in Arizona.

The request got here after the county had already completed its personal audit and located no issues after a hand-count of ballots. On Thursday, a choose rejected the Republican bid to postpone certification of the county’s election outcomes and dismissed the social gathering’s authorized problem that sought the brand new audit.

Maricopa County officers licensed their outcomes Friday. Biden gained the county by greater than 45,000 votes, and bested Trump statewide by a margin of greater than 10,000 votes.

Then there’s Georgia, the place election officers did a high-profile audit of the presidential race as required by state legislation. The audit – a hand tally of about 5 million votes – wasn’t in response to any suspected issues. A brand new legislation in Georgia mandates an audit of anyone race after each election. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, mentioned he selected to audit the presidential race due to its significance and due to the tight margin between Trump and Biden.

A couple of thousand beforehand uncounted ballots had been found through the audit, narrowing Biden’s lead over Trump. Biden nonetheless ended up taking the state.

WHAT HAPPENED IN MICHIGAN?

Issues unfolded slightly in another way in Michigan.

It started when two Republican election board members of the district that features majority-Black Detroit, voted to dam a routine certification of the votes. They cited discrepancies between the variety of ballots that got to voters – for voting both by mail or in individual – and the variety of votes forged.

It was a shocking and surprising transfer, particularly since Biden beat Trump in Wayne County by a greater than 2-1 margin, in line with unofficial outcomes. Biden gained Michigan by 154,000 votes, or 2.8 share factors.

The Republicans’ declare drew complaints of racism from Democrats and election consultants who additionally famous there was no signal of widespread voting fraud in Michigan or elsewhere. The 2 Republican board members later reversed themselves following assurances that there could be an audit, which Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson mentioned could be executed in Wayne County and in some other group with “important clerical errors.”

Since then, the Wayne County board Republicans have signed affidavits saying they nonetheless don’t consider the outcomes ought to have been licensed. State officers have mentioned they can’t revoke their votes.

IT’S NOT ONLY ABOUT THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE

In Alaska, Republican Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, has mentioned he plans to hunt an audit of votes forged on a statewide poll initiative to dispose of social gathering primaries. That’s after Trump and a few of his supporters forged doubt on the know-how used to tabulate votes – once more, with no proof of significant irregularities.

Dominion Voting Programs, one of many largest voting know-how suppliers within the nation, denied what it referred to as “false assertions about vote-switching and software program points” with its techniques.

On this occasion, it’s not the Trump marketing campaign asking for an audit. Slightly, Meyer mentioned the machines proved correct through the major, however that he’s in search of an audit as a result of “so many individuals assume our Dominion machines are defective, corrupt and simply manipulated, and I feel quite a lot of that is misinformation that’s coming from the nationwide degree.”

The audit would occur after outcomes are licensed, and wouldn’t change the result.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

There have been no widespread findings of fraud in any state through the 2020 elections. At most, election officers have cited routine cases of human error or minor technical issues.

Trump’s personal election safety company declared the 2020 presidential election to have been probably the most safe in historical past. (Although days after that assertion was issued, Trump fired the company’s chief. )

At this level it’s unlikely that any audit in any state might uncover issues massive sufficient to sway election outcomes.

___

Related Press protection of voting rights receives help partly from Carnegie Company of New York. The AP is solely chargeable for this content material.

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