Alameda County Registrar of Voters is conducting a risk-limiting audit for the City Council race in the November 2, 2021 City of Emeryville Special Election.
A risk-limiting audit (RLA) is a method of ensuring that election results match voter selections reflected on paper ballots.
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.
Risk-Limiting Audit software provided by the California Secretary of State will be used to conduct the risk-limiting audit. A random seed of at least 20 digits, using a 10-sided die, is entered into the RLA software to randomly select the ballots for the audit.
The Alameda County Registrar of Voters office will use a combination of permanent and temporary full-time staff to create audit boards to conduct a risk-limiting audit. The audit boards locate, retrieve, or observe the location and retrieval of each randomly selected ballot from the appropriate storage box and the audit board verifies the seals on the appropriate storage containers. No less than two audit board members and one observer are present with the ballots during the process to ensure the security, confidentiality, chain of custody and integrity of ballots. Audit board members take an oath to follow all laws and procedures to support the audit.
The audit board examines each randomly selected ballot and interprets the voter markings. After the voter intent determination is made on each ballot, the audit board enters the information into the RLA software. The audit continues until the risk limit is met.
Voter intent is determined by unanimous agreement of the entire audit board. If the audit board does not come to a consensus, the elections official will arbitrate the issue following the guidelines outlined in California Code of Regulations 20123.