Georgia’s 2020 audit is complete
November 19, 2020 — Ben Adida
Today, Georgia completed its first state-wide risk-limiting audit (RLA) on the Presidential contest, confirming Joe Biden as the winner of the state’s electoral votes. VotingWorks was proud to provide on-the-ground training, logistics, and technical support, though the immense lift of actually counting ballots by hand was performed by Georgia’s own state and local election officials who worked tirelessly through the week.
When an RLA is performed, the number of ballots examined is based on the margin of the contest; a tight margin requires a significantly larger sample size, while a wider margin means fewer ballots can be examined. In Georgia’s case this year, the required sample size was so large that it was less work to hand-count every single ballot. Georgia’s officials and thousands of Georgia citizens worked overnight and through the weekend to complete this hand-tally in less than a week, a tremendous logistical accomplishment and a tribute to their focus on election integrity. Not only is Georgia just the third state to ever conduct a legally binding RLA, but Georgia’s full hand-tally is the largest full hand-tally in US history.
As Georgia’s Secretary of State’s office has announced, when the 5,023,513 votes that were counted by automated scanners were tallied by hand, the margin of victory changed by 496 votes, less than 0.01% (0.0001).
VotingWorks provided software and technical guidance throughout this RLA and we’re particularly proud of the transparency of this entire process: the software we use is open-source, the math has been vetted by academics for a decade, the process of reviewing ballots is open to the press and the public, and the final report is now public. Georgia’s commitment to process, transparency and election integrity makes today a great day for democracy, and we are proud to have played a part.