Counties readying for election audits

Act 888 directs board to do the conduct the audits

By Tim Sissom
Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

FAYETTEVILLE -- A pilot program will have state officials auditing election results from five Arkansas counties in 2020 to check the accuracy of new voting equipment and reassure voters about the election process.

State legislators authorized the post-election audit program during this year's legislative session. Act 888 directs the state Board of Election Commissioners to do the audits no less than 60 days after the 2020 general election. According to the Act, the audit isn't a recount and will have no legal effect on the election's outcome.

The audit was discussed Wednesday at a meeting of county election commissioners and election officials from Northwest Arkansas. The group meets quarterly and Wednesday's session focused on election laws adopted this year.

Daniel Shults, staff director of the state board, said the counties will be chosen in a random drawing from those using the new electronic voting machines. The law mandates one of the five counties have a population of more than 100,000 and the other four have populations of less than 100,000. The audit will include at least one county from each of the state's four Congressional districts.

"This is to ensure the public's belief in the integrity of the election system," Shults said Wednesday.

Shults said Arkansas was one of only 16 states with no post-election audit requirements until the Legislature approved Act 888. READ MORE.

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