Virginia announced it started an audit of the 2020 election results yesterday on February 16th. The state publicizes the audit as the answer to any questions about the 2020 election. Unfortunately, this is not true.
The state of Virginia announced this week that their audit started yesterday statewide. The Department of Elections shared:
Virginia’s 133 localities will take part in a statewide post-election Risk Limiting Audit of the 2020 U.S. presidential and Senate elections, a procedural step where ballot scanner machines used in November will be inspected.
The Virginia Department of Elections then provided the following summary of what they will do:
● Creating a ballot manifest – Localities will create a simple spreadsheet that lists all of the containers or the batches that contain the ballots cast and how many ballots are in each batch. All types of ballots are to be included (in person, mail-in, provisional, etc.).
● Uploading the ballot manifest – once the ballot manifest is completed, localities will upload the spreadsheet into VotingWorks’ audit software.
● Generating a Random Seed Number & ballot selection – ELECT and VotingWorks will hold another virtual meeting on February 22 to generate the random seed number. The random seed number is a 20-digit number created by a roll of dice. The random seed number entered into the audit system software generates the list of ballots for retrieval by each locality.
● Ballot Retrieval lists – Localities will receive a list of ballots to review. The lists will include which batches to open and the ballot(s) to retrieve. Localities will have three days to upload the vote tallies from the ballots retrieved.
● Ballot retrieval – Each locality will hold a public meeting to retrieve the ballots on the ballot retrieval list. A review board of two people from each participating locality will retrieve ballots and record the Presidential and Senatorial votes on a tally sheet. Some localities in the Commonwealth will not have to retrieve any ballots and not need to have a meeting.
● Entering ballot tallies – After retrieving the ballots, localities will enter the vote(s) cast for the Presidential and Senatorial contest on each ballot VotingWorks’ audit software.
A voter might think this work is alright – a worthwhile exercise. Unfortunately, this is not the case. This audit is like performing a 1980 audit to catch 2020 election fraud. This audit is garbage.
- The Virginia audit samples election results. – It does not audit all the ballots counted in the election (which can be done).
- The Virginia audit wastes people’s time. The first couple bullets list an exercise where the localities will put together information for the auditors, so the auditors can create their sample. – If the entire population is included in the audit, none of these tasks are necessary, because the result will be 100% accurate since all the ballots are included in the population.
- The review of the ballots consists of counting and recording the selections on each ballot. – This sampling approach is garbage. It was maybe good in 1980 but in 2020 it will not suffice.
- The problem with this audit is it will never address invalid ballots. It counts the ballots but does no adjudication of the validity of the ballots being counted.
A 2020 audit will review all the ballots, not just a sample. Every ballot will be reviewed for the paper the ballot is on, the ink used, the shape of the circles being filled in, the sequence of the ballots, the creases in ballots, etc. This type of physical review, just of the ballots, will identify invalid ballots. These ballots can then be reviewed and eliminated if no proper excuses for their oddities are available. This can be done for every ballot in every audit.
We’ve discussed this in prior posts. We discussed this in a post regarding an audit in Wisconsin.