1000 x 90

State Board to Randomly Select Precincts for Post-Election Accuracy Checks

Raleigh, N.C. — The State Board of Elections on Wednesday, November 9, will randomly select precincts, early voting sites, and absentee-by-mail ballots to be counted by hand as part of a statutorily required post-election audit.

The random selection of voting groups to be counted by hand in each county will take place at 1 p.m. Wednesday, November 9. The public is invited to attend the random selection in the Board Room, State Board of Elections office, Third Floor, Dobbs Building, 430 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh.

Interested parties may also access the event as follows:

Live online on Teams  (Video will be available at the conclusion of the event.)

After the random selection, bipartisan teams at each county board of elections will hand count the chosen precincts, one-stop early voting sites, or absentee-by-mail ballots and compare them with the results of the machine counts. Required by state law, the sample audit count helps ensure the reliability of election results tabulated by machine. See N.C.G.S. § 163-182.1.

Wednesday’s event will entail multiple steps: 

  • Ten 10-sided dice are rolled sequentially to determine a 10-digit seed number. The seed number method is used to initialize the random number generator in a way that can be replicated by any member of the public who wishes to do so. 
  • The seed number is inputted into a software program, along with the input file (which contains a list of Election Day precincts, one-stop early voting sites, and all absentee-by-mail ballots for each county). 
  • The software program is run using the seed number, the input file, and the code to generate a random sample of two groups of ballots cast from each county. These groups of ballots include Election Day precinct(s), early voting site(s), and absentee-by-mail ballots (considered a single administrative voting site since these are tabulated at the board of elections). 
  • After being generated, the list of random groups of ballots is posted to NCSBE.gov and provided to the county boards of elections. 
  • For transparency, members of the public can produce the same output using the seed number, the input file, and the free software. 
  • Instructions for installing the software, as well as the code itself, are available here: https://dl.ncsbe.gov/?prefix=ENRS/sample_audit/code/
  • The input file will be available here: https://dl.ncsbe.gov/?prefix=ENRS/sample_audit/2022_11_08/
  • The output file (i.e., the resulting randomly selected groups of ballots for each county to audit) will also be available here: https://dl.ncsbe.gov/?prefix=ENRS/sample_audit/2022_11_08/

Before every election, each county board of elections tests every tabulator that will be used in the election to ensure ballots are properly coded and the machine accurately counts the ballots. For more information, see Preparing for Accurate Elections.

The State Board office conducts a series of additional post-election audits and, where necessary, investigations, to ensure the reliability of election results. For more information on election security and audits, visit Post-Election Procedures and Audits.