BILL REQ. #:  H-3884.1 


State of Washington59th Legislature2006 Regular Session

By Representative Nixon

Read first time 01/10/2006.   Referred to Committee on State Government Operations & Accountability.

     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 results of the precinct selection must be sealed and secured until election day.
     (3) On the day of the election, the list of precincts selected for audit must be released by the county canvassing board. The county auditor then selects, by lot, three races or issues, or a combination of both, in each selected precinct for a manual recount. During ballot processing, the auditor may direct that ballots in the selected precincts be identified, segregated, and sorted to facilitate the audit process.
     (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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