Lawmakers Pass Key Election Audit Law

( ecretaries of state from across the U.S. met this week and issued recommendations for how audits that happen after an election should take place.

On Monday, a meeting of the National Association of Secretaries of State was held. The group ended up approving guidelines regarding audits that happen after elections, and there was only one person who voted against them — Marc Warner, the Republican secretary of state from West Virginia.

Jay Ashcroft, the Republican secretary of state from Missouri, abstained.

A spokesman for Warner explained his decision for voting against the guidelines, saying they were “void of any legislative input.” In a statement, the spokesman said:

“Secretary Warner has long held that the state Legislature is the proper venue to implement election law.”

The guidelines now recommend that all states set a specific timeline that will govern how long audits can last. They also include language that will ensure that local governments will be involved in any local audits.

The Task Force on Vote Verification, a bipartisan committee of the NASS, drew up the new guidelines. There were four Republicans and four Democrats on that committee.

The group recommended that the performance of audits should be triggered “as soon as reasonably possible” following an election. This goes for any election re-certification that an audit might necessitate.

The report also said it’s “paramount” that procedures follow a chain of custody throughout the entirety of the audit. Election officials are being urged to have a solid handle on where all election materials — including ballots — are throughout the entire process of the audit.

If voting equipment is to be audited, the task force suggested that all states should use test labs that are accredited to perform the audits.

In a statement, the NASS explained:

“As experts in the field, the bipartisan task force came together to tackle the important issue of post-election audits to promote a greater public understanding of the processes, procedures, and necessary elements for successful audits.”

These recommendations are trying to take on issues that several local jurisdictions are facing, or could soon face in the future. Following the 2020 presidential election, many states, counties and local jurisdictions underwent audits of their election results.

Now, nine months after the election took place, some localities are still undergoing audits.

In Arizona, Maricopa County received a subpoena for all of its election equipment and ballots from the 2020 presidential election. That’s part of an audit that was ordered by the state Senate.

There, the county went ahead and purchased new election machines because Katie Hobbs, the secretary of state who’s a Democrat, threatened to end up decertifying them. She did this because she said the machines’ security was compromised when they were examined by Cyber Ninjas, a private contracting company.

Maricopa County even sent a letter to Karen Fann, the president of the state Senate, that it is expecting them to pay for the new voting machines because of their audit.