Start Spreading the News: New York’s Post-Election Audit Has Major Flaws

6 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2020

See all articles by Amanda Glazer

Amanda Glazer

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Statistics

Jacob Spertus

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Statistics

Date Written: February 10, 2020

Abstract

Post-election audits should provide the public with evidence that election results are fair and accurate. However, New York state’s current audit has no guarantees that erroneously reported election results will be caught and corrected at a high rate. When outcome-changing tabulation errors are confined to a single machine, the New York audit will fail 97% of the time. The story is not much better when a handful of machines are affected. On the other hand, a risk-limiting audit with a 5% risk limit is statistically guaranteed to catch at least 95% of wrong outcomes. We simulate audits of precinct level election returns from the 2016 presidential race to illustrate the differences. We recommend replacing the current New York audit with a risk-limiting audit.

Keywords: Risk-limiting audits, election integrity, post-election audits, audits, election security

Suggested Citation

Glazer, Amanda and Spertus, Jacob, Start Spreading the News: New York’s Post-Election Audit Has Major Flaws (February 10, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3536011 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3536011

Amanda Glazer

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Statistics ( email )

United States

Jacob Spertus (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Statistics ( email )

United States

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