Montgomery County conducts post-election audit

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By The Express


Montgomery County conducted its first post-election audit Thursday under a new law designed to monitor and protect election processes. The audit was a perfect match to the result recorded on the election tabulator.

Iowa law now requires that after each general election, the Secretary of State will choose, at random, one precinct in each Iowa county to be audited. County auditors must then supervise a hand count of the ballots from that precinct and compare the results from the presidential or gubernatorial election, depending on the year, to the voting machine count from election night.

In Montgomery County, the Secretary of State chose the Absentee precinct. The process for auditing the absentee precinct is a little different than auditing all other precincts. During the absentee audit, the same machine is used and at least 50 percent of the ballots must be run through the machine during the audit. 800 ballots were counted. The machine count and hand count matched perfectly.

“That’s what we like to see,” said County Auditor Stephanie Burke. “The hand count shows that our machines are accurately counting the ballots.”

Burke said that the new law is in response to concerns about computer hackers altering election results.

“Since our voting machines, as well as our programming and tabulating computers, aren’t hooked up to the internet, hacking the vote is highly unlikely, but not totally impossible,” Burke said. “Being able to rely on paper ballots should give us confidence in the integrity of our voting system.”

Four precinct election officials, representing the two major political parties, conducted the count under the supervision of Elections Clerk, Beth Peterson, and Auditor Stephanie Burke. As required in the law, the Auditor’s Office notified the county chairs of both of the two major political parties. The process was witnessed by a representative of the Montgomery County Democrats.

Questions about the post-election audit and other election matters may be directed to the Montgomery County Auditor’s office at 623-5127.