CANVASS OF VOTES
34-1203A. postelection audit of selected ballots.
(1)(a) After the completion of all county canvasses for any primary or general election, the secretary of state shall identify and order a postelection audit of certain paper ballots cast in any election, shall immediately post to the website of the office of the secretary of state a list of the elections, counties, and precincts selected for audit, and shall immediately notify each affected county clerk and county sheriff of the same. Upon receiving such notification, the county sheriff shall immediately impound and take into custody the affected ballots pursuant to the procedures in chapter 23, title 34, Idaho Code. Upon completion of the postelection audit, the ballots shall be resealed and returned to the custody of the county clerk or, in the event that the ballots are subject to a recount pursuant to chapter 23, title 34, Idaho Code, to the county sheriff. The postelection audit shall include, at a minimum, a hand recount of the ballots subject to the audit and a comparison to the results reported by the county for any precincts, days, batches, legislative districts, and tabulation machines selected for audit.
(b) A postelection audit authorized pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection may be ordered for:
(i) Any or all federal elections held in Idaho;
(ii) The election for governor;
(iii) The statewide office election having the narrowest percentage margin of votes;
(iv) The statewide ballot question election having the narrowest percentage margin of votes; and
(v) One (1) legislative office election within the county.
(c) The precincts selected for audit pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection shall:
(i) Be selected by lot by the secretary of state without the use of a computer at an open public meeting governed by the provisions of chapter 2, title 74, Idaho Code; and
(ii) Not exceed five percent (5%) of the precincts in the county or one (1) precinct, whichever is greater. Provided, however, that multiple precincts may be selected in any county if the number of ballots from the precincts so selected is less than two thousand one hundred (2,100).
(d) The secretary of state, in lieu of auditing the early or absentee ballots from any precincts selected for postelection audit, may select days, batches, legislative districts, and tabulation machines of early or absentee ballots for audit until the number of ballots selected equals or exceeds the number of early or absentee ballots that were cast from the precincts selected for postelection audit. Such days, batches, legislative districts, and tabulation machines shall be selected under the same requirements by which precincts were selected. The provisions of this paragraph apply only to a county that:
(i) Does not organize the storage of its early or absentee ballots by precinct;
(ii) Organizes the storage of such ballots by day, batch, legislative district, or tabulation machine; and
(iii) Publicly reports the election results for early or absentee ballots by day, batch, legislative district, or tabulation machine on the county’s website prior to the secretary of state’s selection of precincts to be audited.
(2) The secretary of state shall conduct, and the county clerks shall facilitate, any postelection audit ordered pursuant to subsection (1) of this section. Such an audit shall be open to attendance by news media personnel. By directive issued at least sixty (60) days prior to the election, the secretary of state shall determine the procedures by which the postelection audit is to be conducted. Such procedures shall be developed in consultation with county clerks and shall include provisions allowing each interested candidate and political party, and each political committee that publicly reported expending money on a ballot question for which the results will be audited, to appoint a designated observer. Within the time specified in the directive, the secretary of state shall report the results of any postelection audits on the website of the office of the secretary of state and to the county clerk of each county in which paper ballots were audited.
(3) The secretary of state may order additional postelection audits, without regard to the election or precinct limitations provided in subsection (1) of this section, if he determines that such action is warranted by the findings of the audits ordered pursuant to subsection (1) of this section. The secretary of state shall limit such orders for additional postelection audits to the types of problems identified by the audits performed pursuant to subsection (1) of this section.
(4) The office of the secretary of state shall pay for the cost of any postelection audits conducted pursuant to this section, including reimbursing county clerks for any costs associated with facilitating such audits.
[34-1203A, added 2022, ch. 32, sec. 2, p. 89; am. 2023, ch. 2, sec. 1, p. 3; am. 2023, ch. 208, sec. 15, p. 578.]