Inyo County Elections

Post Election Audits

Inyo County is committed to full transparency to uphold the integrity of elections. In Inyo County, all ballots are subject to a post-election audit in each election. These audits are conducted in public and open to observation.

California Gubernatorial Recall Election – September 14, 2021

Inyo County conducted a 1% Manual Tally Audit per CA Elections Code § 336.5.

During the official canvass of every election in which a voting system is used, the official conducting the election shall conduct a public manual tally of the ballots tabulated by those devices cast in 1 percent of the precincts chosen at random by the elections official. If one percent of the precincts should be less than one whole precinct, the tally shall be conducted in one precinct chosen at random by the elections official.

In addition to the one percent count, the elections official shall, for each race not included in the initial group of precincts, count one additional precinct. The manual tally shall apply only to the race not previously counted.

Additional precincts for the manual tally may be selected at the discretion of the elections official. (CA Elections Code Sec. 15360)

Method of Selecting the Random Sample

To select the precincts, slips of paper in equal size with one slip per precinct are folded and placed in a wheel and shuffled.  A random number is drawn from the wheel.  If the percentage of votes from the random precinct is less than 2% of the total votes cast, a second precinct is randomly drawn; this is continued until at least 2% of total votes cast will be audited.  While the statute mandates only 1% of the total precincts are to be audited, we may select more for additional transparency. 

Procedure for the Manual Tally — Audit Board

After the precincts for the manual tally are selected, one or more boards of four people hand counts each contest using tally sheets.

Preparing for the Tally

  1. Record the precinct number and date on the top of the tally sheet.
  2. Count all ballots in stacks of ten and record the total hand count on the tally sheet.
  3. Validate the total number of ballots to be audited is equal to the total casted votes on the Summary Report. 

Counting the ballots

  • One board member reads the each measure/contest one at a time on each ballot and one board member observes to make sure the reader is calling the vote correctly.  Pause between each item to allow the tally to be recorded. 
  • Two board members mark their separate tally sheets as the measure/contest is called out. The marks are hash marks going in the same direction across the first row on the tally sheet. On the second row, the hash marks should go in the opposite direction of the hash marks on the first line (//// and then \\\\).
  • The board members who are marking the tally sheets call out “10”, “20”, “30”, etc. after each group of ten votes is counted for a candidate or measure. Recount if the count of ten is different between the two board members.
  • When finished counting, the supervisor checks the manual tally against the results on the Summary Report. When the supervisor verifies that the tallies match, he/she initials the tally. The counters initial each page and sign on the final page.

Handling Discrepancies

Should a discrepancy between the manual tally and the machine count occur, the ballots should be manually recounted until two manual tallies match the machine tally.

If the machine tally cannot be reconciled with the hand count, and there is no reasonable explanation for the discrepancy, the Registrar of Voters will take additional steps as needed to confirm that the count is accurate. This may include recounting all ballots on another machine and performing a second audit of the new machine tallies.

Completing the Manual Tally

When the manual tally is completed, the Registrar of Voters confirms that the machine count and the manual tally results match and that discrepancies have been resolved.

The ballots and results of the manual tally are then placed into containers, sealed and kept for the required amount of time for that election.

1% Manual Tally Report

2020 Risk Limiting & 1% Manual Hand Tally Audit

Inyo County conducted a risk limiting audit of seven contests contained wholly within Inyo County, and a manual 1% hand tally on the remainder contests.

The risk-limiting audit (RLA) is a procedure that provides strong statistical evidence that the election outcome is correct, or has a high probability of correcting an outcome that wouldn’t match a full hand count of the ballots. The audit itself requires human beings to examine and verify more ballots in close contests and fewer ballots in contests with wider margins.

In California, when a risk-limiting audit is used, it must confirm that the election results reported by the voting system are 95% likely to be accurate. Unlike the post-election 1% manual tally traditionally used to confirm election results in California, under a risk-limiting audit every ballot cast in the election—regardless of which precinct it was cast in—has an equal chance of being audited.

The Inyo County Elections office uses a combination of permanent full-time staff, along with citizen volunteers, to conduct all audits. The audit board located, retrieved, or observed the location and retrieval of each randomly selected ballot from the appropriate storage container and the audit board verified the seals on the appropriate storage containers. No less than two audit board members and one observer were present with the ballots during the process to ensure the security, confidentiality, chain of custody and integrity of ballots. Audit board members took oaths to follow all laws and procedures to support the audit.

For the RLA portion of the audit, a random seed was generated by rolling a 10 sided die, which was then used to determine which ballots would be selected for the audit. The audit board examined each randomly selected ballot and interpreted the voter markings. After each voter intent determination was made, the audit board entered the information into the software tool supplied by the California Secretary of State. The audit continued until the risk limit was met.

For the 1% manual tally audit, slips of paper were drawn out of a container to determine which precincts would be hand tallied. The audit board consisted of four people. One audit board member called out the vote, a second observed that the correct vote was called, and the two additional members of the audit board hand tallied the results. The audit continued until all randomly selected precincts were hand tallied.

Voter intent was determined by unanimous agreement of the entire audit board and if the audit board could not agree on intent, the elections official arbitrated the issue following the guidelines outlined in California Code of Regulations 20123, et. seq.

All required data was published on this website prior to commencement of the audit, beginning with the random seed and select of the random 1% hand tally precincts at 8:30 am on November 24, 2020 at the Independence Courthouse located at 168 N. Edwards St. Independence, CA 93526, immediately followed by the retrieval of ballots and the audit itself.

All parts of the process were open to public observation. Observers, were asked to follow all public health & safety guidelines and maintain at least 6 foot distance from others. A projector was used so that the ballots are clearly visible to all present.

Contests that will be audited with a Risk Limiting Audit:

The RLA was completed on November 24 at 4:30 pm in one round, with zero discrepancies.

Resources:

Full audit report

Ballot Manifest

Semi-Final 9th Results Report

Chain of Custody Logs

Ballot Contest/Ballot Style key

Ballot Type/Voting Precinct/Regular Precinct key

Cast Vote Records Hash:

http://arlo-e2e-denver-demo.s3-website.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/inyo2020/
% shasum -b -a 256 MANIFEST.json
b4c1ecf91d35f01042e7164ba426a28edd026fe1bb23f7747c6a688425843a7d *MANIFEST.json

Seed:

01685534362931444020

Contests that were subject to the RLA:

Governing Board Member Big Pine Unified School 
Governing Board Member Lone Pine Unified School
County Supervisor, 4th District 
Bishop City Treasurer 
Big Pine Fire Protection District 
Director, Zone 1 Northern Inyo Healthcare District
Measure P – The Bishop Community Safety And Essential Services Measure 

Contests that were audited with a traditional 1% hand tally of the precincts:

Semi-Official Results – 9th Report, with results by precinct

Randomly selected precincts

Precincts randomly selected for the 1% hand tally are posted below.

President  and Vice President – 112
U.S. Representative 8th District – 112
Member of the Assembly 26th District – 112
Governing Board Member Bishop Unified School – 112
Lone Pine Fire Protection District -117
Bishop City Council -106
Propositions 14 – 25 – 112

Resources:

Press Release regarding the post election audit, to be conducted on November 24, 2020 and November 25, 2020.

California Secretary of State Risk Limiting Audit Emergency Regulations

Chain of Custody Procedures