Orange County will audit 2020 presidential election ballots

Orange County has introduced that it’ll conduct a voluntary audit of its 2020 presidential election ballots to make sure the integrity of outcomes.

The danger-limiting audit isn’t required beneath California regulation, the Orange County registrar of voters mentioned, however the process is supposed to supply “sturdy statistical proof” that the result of the election is right.

“Conducting a risk-limiting audit is a wonderful solution to audit elections and supply an necessary examine on the integrity of the election course of,” Registrar Neal Kelley mentioned in a information launch. “It is a helpful alternative to make the most of the improved auditing functionality of Orange County’s voting system, whereas on the identical time making certain that the outcomes are true and proper.”

Practically 54% of Orange County’s ballots have been forged for Joe Biden within the 2020 presidential election, based on data from The Times, whereas 44% voted for Donald Trump.

Though President Trump has referred to as for recounts in a number of states amid claims of large-scale voter fraud, Kelley mentioned Monday that the audit isn’t the identical factor as a recount.

As an alternative, the audit will use an algorithm to assist determine and randomly choose high-risk ballots to be checked towards what was recorded. Excessive-risk ballots would possibly embrace these in precincts by which voting outcomes have been shut, or the place there was a unique turnout than anticipated, Kelley mentioned.

The process shall be carried out along with a hand tally of votes from 1% of all precincts — one thing that has been required of all California counties for the reason that 1960s — and is supposed to assist streamline that course of.

“I’ve been a champion of [risk-limiting audits] from the start as a result of the fact is that it’s rather more scientifically sound by way of discovering ballots that is perhaps an issue, after which counting these which might be most in danger,” Kelley mentioned. “Statistically, it is sensible.”

Lengthy a Republican stronghold, Orange County’s political make-up has undergone a tectonic shift lately. Its 2016 support of Hillary Clinton marked the county’s first time voting for a Democratic presidential candidate since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936. In 2019, the county’s variety of registered Democrats surpassed that of Republicans for the primary time since a short blue burst within the 1970s.

However there are many indications that the GOP stays a viable pressure within the space, which homes the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and famously nurtured the political profession of Ronald Reagan.

Final month, a rally in Newport Beach introduced throngs of Trump supporters to the Pacific Coast Freeway, and on Saturday, Trump supporters gathered once more on the Huntington Seashore Pier to protest Biden’s projected win.

Regardless of the president’s accusations of fraud, Kelley mentioned the outcomes of Orange County’s risk-limiting audits have been persistently on-target: Their audit of the 2020 major elections discovered that not one vote was off.

“That is one thing the general public doesn’t perceive,” Kelley mentioned. “A federally licensed voting system can not have a identified error of greater than 1 in 10 million ballots forged. Inform me, aside from possibly drugs, the place you may have that type of strict reliance on accuracy. … I’m standing behind it for a motive. The system is exact.”

Step one of the audit would be the institution of a random seed, which is able to happen at 9 a.m. Friday on the registrar of voters workplace in Santa Ana. The seed is a quantity consisting of not less than 20 digits, and every digit shall be chosen by sequential rolls of a 10-sided die.

Randomly chosen members of the general public will take turns rolling the die, or employees members if no members of the general public are current.

“Establishing the seed on this method leads to a correctly random, and verifiable, collection of particular person ballots of examination and audit,” the registrar mentioned, “and ensures the integrity and statistical validity of the risk-limiting audit.”

The election outcomes to be audited shall be revealed on the Orange County registrar of voters web site previous to the seed ceremony, and the seed shall be revealed instantly after it’s established, officers mentioned. It can embrace native and statewide contests in addition to the presidential election.