BILL REQ. #:  H-4933.1 


State of Washington59th Legislature2006 Regular Session

By House Committee on State Government Operations & Accountability (originally sponsored by Representative Nixon)

READ FIRST TIME 02/03/06.   

     AN ACT Relating to election audits; and adding a new section to chapter 29A.60 RCW.


NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1   A new section is added to chapter 29A.60 RCW to read as follows:
     In counties using optical scan counting devices, before certification of any election or machine recount, the county auditor must conduct an audit of the votes counted by the optical scan counting devices used in the county. This audit must be conducted using the following process:
     (1) The county auditor must determine the number that equals two percent of the registered voters in the county.
     (2) The county canvassing board must select, by lot, precincts for audit until the total number of voters in the selected precincts combined exceeds two percent of the registered voters in the county. The selection, by lot, shall be conducted in public at the close of voting on election day.
     (3) At the close of voting on election day and after precincts have been selected, the county auditor then selects, by lot, from all races and issues, three to audit manually in each selected precinct for a manual recount. The selection, by lot, shall be conducted in public. During the ballot processing, the auditor shall direct that ballots be identified and sorted by precinct to facilitate the audit process, and for any potential recounts, during the initial machine count.
     (4) The county canvassing board must determine the date, time, and place or places at which the manual audit count will be conducted and announce these to the public at least seventy-two hours before the count. Manual audit counts are open to the public subject to reasonable and equitable guidelines adopted by the canvassing board.
     (5) At the time and place established for the audit count, the canvassing board or its duly authorized representatives, in the presence of all witnesses in attendance, will open the sealed containers containing the ballots to be recounted and hand count the votes for the offices or issues selected for the audit. Ballots must be handled only by the members of the canvassing board or their duly authorized representatives. At no time may any person observing the audit handle a ballot or make a record of information on the ballots.
     (6) If there is a difference between the machine count and the manual count, the results of the manual count will be the official count for the election for the affected races or issues in the selected precincts. The auditor must document and explain the reason for any difference between the counts. If the difference between the machine count and the manual count cannot be explained by any other reason than a machine counting error, any party, candidate, or person representing either side of a ballot measure appearing on any ballot in the county may request a complete recount of votes for the race or ballot measure under chapter 29A.64 RCW without any charge to the requestor.
     (7) Results of the audit, including the machine and manual counts for each audited precinct and race and explanation of any differences must be published on the county auditor's internet web site and be available in writing and in electronic form upon request.

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