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Idaho Enterprise

Oenida County selected for Ballot Audit

Two years ago, the Idaho State Legislature passed a bill to create a new post-election audit process.  Senate Bill 1274 requires a sampling of small, medium, and large counties to have one of their ballot questions hand-counted and compared against the officially reported results in order to verify the integrity of the election process and the officially numbers.

Oneida county was selected randomly through a lottery-style drawing from among Idaho’s 44 counties.  The counties are divided into three groups—those with populations under 20,000, those with populations between 20,001 and 99,000 and those with populations over 100,000.  A total of eight counties are selected through the process, after which a hand tabulation of ballots related to a specific question are conducted under the direction of the Secretary of State’s office, and with representatives of the two major parties.

Oneida county’s audit was conducted by Sheryl Millard from the Secretary of State’s office, with the participation of Riley Gilbert, the Political Director of the Idaho Republican party and Gini Ballou, the President of the Idaho Democratic Women’s Caucus.  The ballots were examined and verified by the group and then compared to the reported totals.

Two of the ballots were initially noted as “unaccounted for,” though by the end of the process, those ballots had been accounted for and reflected in the final totals.  After final comparisons were made, Oneida county’s ballot figures were determined to match with the reported results.    

“It’s a new process, so it’s a little bit of a learning experience,” County Clerk Lon Colton said.  “But obviously anything that helps made the voting process better and more reliable is a good thing.”

Across the state, audits found that there were no changes to any of the tabulations that affected any races.  There were also no races across the state with a margin of .1%, which is required to trigger an automatic recount.  The other counties audited were Ada, Bonner, Bonneville, Kootenai, Nez Perce, Minidoka, and Shoshone.  Idaho’s voter participation reached a percentage of 56.8%.  The election results were officially certified on Wednesday, November 23.

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