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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2006        FILED ON: 1/20/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1980


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Michael J. Moran


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act  An Act to provide for audits of election results.






Michael J. Moran

18th Suffolk

James M. Cantwell

4th Plymouth

Linda Dorcena Forry

12th Suffolk

Russell E. Holmes

6th Suffolk

Stephen Stat Smith

28th Middlesex

Martin J. Walsh

13th Suffolk

Ellen Story

3rd Hampshire

Brian M. Ashe

2nd Hampden

Gailanne M. Cariddi

1st Berkshire

Aaron Michlewitz

3rd Suffolk

Frank I. Smizik

15th Norfolk

Jennifer E. Benson

37th Middlesex

Jason M. Lewis

31st Middlesex

John P. Fresolo

16th Worcester

Cory Atkins

14th Middlesex

John D. Keenan

7th Essex

Carl M. Sciortino, Jr.

34th Middlesex

Stanley C. Rosenberg

Hampshire and Franklin

Tom Sannicandro

7th Middlesex

Daniel B. Winslow

9th Norfolk

Steven A. Tolman


James J. Dwyer

30th Middlesex

Bradley H. Jones, Jr.

20th Middlesex

Alice K. Wolf

25th Middlesex

Kay Khan

11th Middlesex

David B. Sullivan

6th Bristol

John W. Scibak

2nd Hampshire

Martha M. Walz

8th Suffolk

Denise Andrews

2nd Franklin

David T. Vieira

3rd Barnstable

Peter V. Kocot

1st Hampshire

Edward F. Coppinger

10th Suffolk

Denise Provost

27th Middlesex

Jonathan Hecht

29th Middlesex

Thomas M. Stanley

9th Middlesex

John J. Binienda

17th Worcester

Stephen Kulik

1st Franklin

Chris Walsh

6th Middlesex

Christopher N. Speranzo

3rd Berkshire

James Arciero

2nd Middlesex

Elizabeth A. Poirier

14th Bristol

Christine E. Canavan

10th Plymouth

Rhonda Nyman

5th Plymouth

Byron Rushing

9th Suffolk

Bruce E. Tarr


Mark J. Cusack

5th Norfolk

Donald F. Humason, Jr.

4th Hampden

James J. O'Day

14th Worcester

Kate Hogan

3rd Middlesex

Carolyn C. Dykema

8th Middlesex

Sean Garballey

23rd Middlesex

Thomas A. Golden, Jr.

16th Middlesex

Alice Hanlon Peisch

14th Norfolk

Kevin G. Honan

17th Suffolk

Nick Collins

4th Suffolk

Gale D. Candaras


Jay R. Kaufman

15th Middlesex

Ruth B. Balser

12th Middlesex

Louis L. Kafka

8th Norfolk

Sonia Chang-Diaz


Bradford Hill

4th Essex

HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2006        FILED ON: 1/20/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1980

By Mr. Moran of Boston, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1980) of Michael J. Moran and others for legislation to authorize local boards of registrars to perform random audits of election results in precincts.  Election Laws. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the Year Two Thousand Eleven



An Act  An Act to provide for audits of election results.


              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

              Chapter 54 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 109 the following section:--

              Section 109A.  Audits of election results.

              (a) For the purposes of this section the term “audited precinct” means any precinct selected in accordance with subsection (c) of this section for the purpose of conducting audits as provided in this section.

              (b) Races subject to audit.

              (1) A hand-counted audit shall be conducted in each audited precinct following:

              (i) any state primary preceding a biennial state election;

              (ii) any presidential primary;

              (iii) any biennial state election;

              (iv) any special general election for senator in congress or representative in congress.

              (2) In each audited precinct, the following races shall be subject to the hand-counted audit:

              (i) each race appearing on the ballot in that audited precinct; and

              (ii) any statewide ballot question appearing on the ballot in that audited precinct. 

              Provided, however, that races in which only one candidate's name appears on the ballot shall not be audited.  If a valid petition for a recount is made pursuant to section 135 of chapter 54 of the General Laws for a race subject to audit by this section, then the votes for that race shall not be audited in any audited precinct named in the petition. The audit of the race in question shall proceed in any audited precinct not included in the petition for a recount.

              (c) Selection of precincts.  The audited precincts shall be chosen in a random, publicly verifiable, non-computerized drawing supervised by the state secretary following publication of unofficial election results from each precinct where any race subject to audit appeared on the ballot.  The number of audited precincts selected in this drawing shall be equal to one per cent of all precincts in the Commonwealth, unless the audit is prompted by a special general election for representative in congress in which case the number of audited precincts selected in this drawing shall be equal to one per cent of all precincts subject to that special election.

              The time and place of the drawing shall be announced at least 48 hours in advance and be open to representatives of each political party and to the public. The audited precincts selected in this manner shall be used to audit any races subject to audit by this section.

              (d) Procedure for conducting audits. The board of registrars in each municipality where one or more audited precincts are located shall conduct the audit. The board of registrars may employ tally clerks for the purpose of counting the ballots. Audits shall commence not later than 24 hours following the random drawing of precincts supervised by the state secretary and shall continue on each successive business day or other day at the discretion of the board of registrars in each municipality. The time and place of the audits in each municipality where one or more audited precincts are located shall be publicly announced in advance. The audits shall be performed in full public view and conducted pursuant to the procedures for hand counts of ballots in Section 105 of Chapter 54.

              If there is a discrepancy between the results reached pursuant to an audit and originally reported tallies, the hand count of the official paper ballots conducted pursuant to the audit shall be the official vote of record.

              (e) Analysis of audit results.  Upon receipt of the results of the audit, the state secretary shall calculate the total number of votes for each candidate and ballot question as recorded in the hand count and shall compare this total to the sum of the originally reported votes for each candidate and ballot question in the audited precincts. When such comparison reveals a discrepancy between the hand-counted audit and the originally reported tally of the audited precincts the discrepancy shall be analyzed to ascertain its cause.  The state secretary shall oversee the analysis and shall publish the findings and make the findings available online, along with the factual information on which such findings were based, within 180 days.

              (f) If discrepancies between the hand-counted audits and the originally reported tallies of the audited precincts cause concern about the accuracy of the election results, the state secretary shall order audits of such additional precincts, offices, initiatives, or questions as shall be necessary to resolve such concern.

              (g) Public availability of audit results.  The results of audits, as well as the corresponding data for the originally reported tallies, shall be made publicly available on a precinct-by-precinct basis both in paper and electronic file format.

              The audit and publication of the results thereof shall be completed prior to the time the State shall make a final determination concerning the appointment of its electors for President and Vice President of the United States as established in federal law.

              (h) Funding.  Costs incurred under this section shall be paid by the state using funds available to Massachusetts pursuant to sections 251-258 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

              (i) Implementation of regulations.  The state secretary shall adopt regulations to implement the requirements of this section, and shall hold public hearings both before and after issuing draft regulations.  The state secretary shall consult one or more persons with expertise in statistics and election auditing prior to issuing draft regulations implementing subsections (c) and (f) of this section.  Final regulations implementing the requirements of this section shall be published at least 60 days before the date of the election.

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