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1 Design, Findings, and Lessons Learned: Sample Audit Recounts in 2006 North Carolina Elections William D. Kalsbeek Lei Zhang University of North Carolina,

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Presentation on theme: "1 Design, Findings, and Lessons Learned: Sample Audit Recounts in 2006 North Carolina Elections William D. Kalsbeek Lei Zhang University of North Carolina,"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Design, Findings, and Lessons Learned: Sample Audit Recounts in 2006 North Carolina Elections William D. Kalsbeek Lei Zhang University of North Carolina, Survey Research Unit, Department of Biostatistics

2 2 Background The NC Board of Elections asked the UNC Survey Research Unit (SRU) to design and conduct an election recount audit for 2006 primary and general elections A 2006 bill passed by the NC Legislature now mandates that a “ hand-to-eye” recount be done for national/statewide offices in each election –Little mention of how the recount data are to be analyzed Recounts completed thus far: –May 2006 primary – State supreme court associate justice seat (five candidates)‏ –November 2006 general election – State supreme court chief justice seat (two candidates)‏

3 3 Sampling Precincts/Places Stratified random sample precincts/places –NC has 3,047 precincts/places overall –100 counties as strata (sampling in each county required by NC-BOE)‏ –Total precinct/place sample sizes: n = 200 (6.6%) for May primary election –2 per county n = 264 (8.7%) for November general election –2 or more per county –More than 2 to the extent of May discrepancies)‏

4 4 Recounting the Votes Selected precincts/places announced after each election Bi-partisan recount: –Generally followed hand-count procedures –Teams of 3-4 from each political party –Team members rotate duty as “tallier” and “caller”

5 5 Two Types of Vote Count Discrepancies in Precincts/Places Discrepancy in Candidate Count (DCC)‏ –In vote count for each candidate on ballot –Discrepancy = [Election Count] – [Recount] Discrepancy in Total Count (DTC)‏ –In total vote count for all candidates –Discrepancy = [Election Count] – [Recount]

6 6 Discrepancies at Each Precinct/Place ELECTION: Candidate E1 E2 E3 E4 ___________ Total E Count RECOUNT: Candidate R1 R2 R3 R4 ___________ Total R Count All DCC Discrepancies DTC Discrepancy

7 7 TABLE 1 Estimated % Distribution of DTCs Among All Precincts/Places for Five Statewide Candidates in May 2006 Primary Supreme Court Associate Justice (Wainwright Seat) FINDINGS: Total votes reported in the election = 519,615 Range of DTCs: -4 to +4 Over-count vs. under-count: favors undercount somewhat Discrepancies much less likely for iVotronic than M iVotronic Machines Only M100 Machines Only All Machines Combined Precinct/ Place Sample Size Type of Machine Used in Precinct/ Place Value of DTC

8 8 TABLE 2 Estimated % Distribution of All DCCs Among All Precincts/Places for Five Statewide Candidates in May 2006 Primary Supreme Court Associate Justice (Wainwright Seat) FINDINGS: Total votes reported in the election = 519,615 Range of All DCCs: -2 (undercount) to +3 (overcount)‏ Overall over-count vs. under-count -- very slightly favoring undercount Discrepancies equally rare for iVotronic and M iVotronic Machines Only M100 Machines Only All Machines Combined Precinct/ Place Sample Size Type of Machine Used in Precinct/ Place Value of DCC

9 9 TABLE 3 Estimated % Distribution of DTCs Among All Precincts/Places for Two Statewide Candidates in November General Election Election for State Supreme Court Chief Justice FINDINGS: Total reported votes = 1,707,326; 2 to 1 margin of victory = 569,366 Range of DTCs --- mostly -13 to +13 Discrepancies of this type are more likely than in May primary Over-count vs. under-count: slightly favors undercount Discrepancies much less likely for iVotronic than M iVotronic Machines Only M100 Machines Only All Machines Combined Precinct/ Place Sample Size Type of Machine Used in Precinct/ Place Value of DTC

10 10 TABLE 4 Estimated % Distribution of All DCCs Among All Precincts/Places for Two Statewide Candidates in November 2006 General Election Election for State Supreme Court Chief Justice FINDINGS: Total election votes = 1,707,326 ; 2 to 1 margin of victory = 569,366 Range of All DCCs: mostly -14 to +12; with outlier at +86 Discrepancies of this type are more likely than in May primary Overall over-count vs. under-count: slightly favors undercount Discrepancies much less likely for iVotronic than M100

11 11 Summary of Key Findings May primary and November general election: DTCs and DCCs in precincts/places –Both + (indicating overcount) and - (indicating undercount) –Slightly favoring – (undercount)‏ Greater discrepancies in November general election than May primary –>3 time as many votes cast in November Greater discrepancies (in both directions) in precincts/places using M100 voting machines than in those using IVotronic machines

12 12 Lessons Learned in Conducting North Carolina Election Audits Sampling –Must be random –What do we need to learn from an audit? Sample design must be responsive to this. –Drop county focus? –Sample more intensively where there has been disparity –Sample locations not announced until after the election Data gathering –Recounting should be “blinded” to election count –Think about other practical ways to make the recount a better gold standard –Expect a few process “glitches”

13 13 Thank You! Questions/Comments:


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