On Wednesday, December 5, the City of Kalamazoo will conduct a pilot of a Risk-Limiting Audit, a state-of-the-art post-election audit that provides a check on the reported election results. A relatively new election security measure, a Risk-Limiting Audit is designed to detect irregularities that could influence reported election outcomes, including intentional cyberattacks and unintentional machine or human errors.
“Our goal as election administrators is to foster confidence in the electoral process, the results of that process, and ultimately our democratic institutions,” said Kalamazoo City Clerk Scott Borling. “Michigan voters put their faith in us to conduct free and fair elections. The Risk-Limiting Audit provides another tool and opportunity to demonstrate their trust is well placed.”
This pilot is one of three to be conducted the first week of December and part of the first multi-jurisdictional risk-limiting audit pilot in the country. Lansing and Rochester Hills will also pilot the procedure during the first week of December. For this project the Michigan Bureau of Elections and the municipal clerks partnered with a team of experts, including Ron Rivest and Mayuri Sridhar of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Jerome Lovato of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), Philip Stark and Kellie Ottoboni of the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley), the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University (NYU) School of Law, Verified Voting, and Indiana’s Voting System Technical Oversight Program (VSTOP).
Michigan’s election system already incorporates many election security measures recommended by national security and cybersecurity experts, including paper ballots and mandatory pre-election testing of all voting equipment. Risk-Limiting Audits may complement the existing procedures, and this pilot will assist election officials to determine whether they can work efficiently and effectively in Michigan.
The event will be held from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Kalamazoo City Hall, 241 W. South Street, Kalamazoo, MI and is open to the public.
For additional information about risk-limiting audits, see “A Smart and Effective Way to Safeguard Elections” and “A Gentle Introduction to Risk-Limiting Audits.”