SECTION 1: Chapter 54 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after Section 109A the following new section:-
(a) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) "Audit unit" means a precinct, a set of ballots, or a single ballot. A precinct, a set of ballots, or a single ballot may be used as an audit unit for purposes of this section only if all of the following conditions are satisfied:
(i) The relevant vote tabulating device is able to produce a report of the votes cast in the precinct, set of ballots, or single ballot.
(ii) Each ballot is assigned to not more than one audit unit.
(2) "Contest" means an election for an office or for a measure.
(3) "Risk-limiting audit" means a manual tally employing a statistical method that ensures a large, predetermined minimum chance of requiring a full manual tally whenever a full manual tally would show an electoral outcome that differs from the outcome reported by the vote tabulating system for the audited contest. A risk-limiting audit shall begin with a hand tally of the votes in one or more audit units and shall continue to hand tally votes in additional audit units until there is strong statistical evidence that the electoral outcome is correct. In the event that counting additional audit units does not provide strong statistical evidence that the electoral outcome is correct, the audit shall continue until there has been a full manual tally to determine the correct electoral outcome of the audited contest.
(4) "Unofficial final results" means election results tabulated pursuant §§17-19-36 and
(b) Commencing in 2020 the State Secretary, in conjunction with board of registrars or election commission of election, is authorized to conduct risk-limiting audits after all statewide primary, general and special elections in accordance with the requirements of this section. Commencing in 2022 the Secretary in conjunction with board of registrars or election commission must conduct risk-limiting audits after the presidential and state primary and general elections in accordance with requirements in this section.
(c) The audit program shall be conducted as follows:
(1) The following contests are subject to a risk-limiting audit if more than 1 candidate's name appears on the ballot: president and vice president, representative in congress, senator in congress, Governor, representative in the general court and senator in the general court; and (ii) 1 statewide ballot question, if any appear on the ballot, chosen by random drawing. The state secretary may include other contests if he determines there is a substantial public interest in doing so;
(2) The state secretary shall audit units selected shall be chosen in a random, publicly verifiable, non-computerized drawing supervised by the state secretary within 48 hours after polls are closed. The drawing shall be fully observable to the public and representatives of each political party and shall use a procedure that can be easily understood to be random by members of the public. Notice of the time and place of the drawing shall be given at least 10 days before the election on the electronic website of the state secretary;
(3) The state secretary shall make available to the public a report of the vote tabulating device results for the contest, including the results for each audit unit in the contest, prior to the random selection of audit units to be manually tallied and prior to the commencement of the audit;
(4) The state secretary in conjunction with the board of registrars or election commission shall conduct the audit upon tabulation of the unofficial final results; and
(5) The state secretary in conjunction with the board of registrars or election commission shall conduct the audit in public view by manually interpreting the ballots according to rules established by the state secretary.
(d) If a risk-limiting audit of a contest leads to a full manual tally of the ballots cast using the voting system, the vote counts according to that manual tally shall replace the vote counts reported for the purpose of determining the official contest results.
(e) The results of any audits conducted under this section shall be published on the website of the state secretary within forty-eight (48) hours of being completed. If the audit involved a manual tally of one or more entire precincts, then the names and numbers of all precincts audited and a comparison of the vote tabulator results with the hand counts for each precinct shall be published with the audit results on the website.
(f) Any audit required under this section shall not commence for any election subject to a recount pursuant to a valid petition under section 135.
(g) The state secretary shall promulgate rules, regulations, and procedures to implement this section.
SECTION 2. Section 109A of chapter 54 is hereby amended by striking the first sentence of subsection (b) and inserting therefore:--
(b) An audit shall be conducted pursuant to this section following any biennial state election, state primary preceding a biennial state election, presidential primary, or special general election for senator in congress or representative in congress in which a risk limiting audit is not conducted under section 109B. If a risk limiting audit is not conducted statewide, the participating jurisdictions shall be exempt from selection for the fixed audit prescribed by this section.
SECTION 3. Section 109A is hereby further amended by inserting the word “Governor” following the words “Senator in Congress.”
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
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