MONTGOMERY — A bill to require random audits of Alabama elections has cleared the House Constitutions, Campaigns and Elections Committee.
House Bill 457 (HB457), sponsored by State Rep. Debbie Wood (R-Valley), would require each county's canvassing board to conduct a post-election audit after each county and statewide general election to determine the accuracy of the originally reported results of the election.
The bill initially would have required each county's canvassing board to conduct a post-election manual audit consisting of a manual tally of all ballots in at least one randomly selected race that appeared on the ballot in at least 20% of polling locations chosen at random.
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The bill was amended to change the scope of any audit, making sure that the Secretary of State's office would choose a race at random for an audit.
"This year, I had a young lady approach me and say, 'Why is Alabama one of the only states that's not auditing?'" Wood said. "And I said I really don't know. I really don't know what we're afraid of. Why aren't we auditing."
"[W]e haven't taken the time to audit the tabulators, the machines, not the individuals running the polls, to see if those machines are still doing what they're supposed to do: providing accurate election results. And that's what this bill is about," she added. "We need to have post-election audits to determine that the tabulators are correct."
The changes to the bill would significantly reduce the number of audits required in the state. Although, Wood said Secretary of State Wes Allen did not want the financial weight of the bill to land on his office, and that would likely change going forward.
"We simplified the bill that one precinct, only one, in one polling center will be randomly selected after a general election to have an audit. That's it. The canvassing board will determine the poll workers that will perform it," Wood said.
Supporters of the bill told 1819 News they were not thrilled with the amendment but were ultimately content with the result.
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