Pennsylvania Counties to audit November’s Superior Court Judge race

16 November 2023- The Department of State today livestreamed the process to randomly select batches of ballots from the Nov. 7, 2023, municipal election that will be audited as part of Pennsylvania’s third statewide risk-limiting audit (RLA).

“National experts consider RLAs the highest standard of comprehensive election audits,” Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt said. “The RLA process provides a statistically sound method for confirming, with a high degree of confidence, that the reported outcome of the audited election is accurate.”

During the livestream, 10 Department employees took turns rolling 10-sided dice. The numbers they rolled generated a random 20-digit “seed number.” That seed number will be used to determine which batches of ballots counties will audit over the next few days.

The Department and counties determined, through a random selection process conducted Nov. 9, that the Pennsylvania Superior Court judge race will be audited for this RLA. During the audit, county officials will hand-tally the randomly selected ballot batches, then compare those vote counts against the original machine counts for the audited race.

Known as a “batch comparison” type of RLA, this pre-certification audit can confirm whether counties accurately tabulated paper ballots so that a full hand count would produce the same reported outcome.

The RLA will be carried out in addition to the 2% statutorily required review that counties must perform after each primary and general election. For that review, county officials are required to conduct a statistical recount of a random sample of at least 2% of all ballots cast – or 2,000 ballots, whichever is fewer.

Counties must complete the RLA by Nov. 24, and they must certify all election results to Secretary Schmidt by Nov. 27.