State declares Mercer, Philly audits of election results successful

ERIC POOLE | HeraldMercer County Commissioner Tim McGonigle, left, talks with county Controller Thomas Amundsen Monday before the county’s risk-limiting audit. Mercer and Philadelphia counties performed the audits this week.

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar declared the pilot election audits held this week in Mercer and Philadelphia counties to have been successful.

The risk-limiting audits, held Monday in Mercer and Thursday in Philadelphia, were intended to confirm outcomes of two races in the Nov. 5 election and increase confidence in voting systems used in the state.

“These state-of-the-art audits will provide Pennsylvania voters with an extra level of confidence in the outcome of elections like the one held earlier this month,” said Boockvar, who was confirmed by the state Senate this week as secretary of state after serving for about a year in an acting role.

The risk-limiting audits use a small number of randomly selected ballots to determine the accuracy of reported results in the election. In Mercer County, audit participants examined the results of 80 ballots in the Marsy’s Law state constitutional amendment referendum.

Under the current audit standard, counties audit by examining 2 percent of ballots cast. That amounted to Mercer County examining about 470 ballots from the 2019 municipal general election.

Mercer County’s audit mirrored almost precisely the results of the statewide Marsy’s Law election.

Auditors in Philadelphia County reviewed the Philadelphia city mayoral race and the Marsy’s Law referendum. Pennsylvania Department of State did not release exact results, but said both the Mercer and Philadelphia county audits verified the accuracy of election-night reported results.

Election officials from both counties worked with the Department of State, U.S. Election Assistance Commission, University of Michigan, Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, Democracy Fund, VotingWorks and Verified Voting.

Mercer County Election Director Jeff Greenburg credited the work of people representing the assisting agencies.

“If our voters could just see the passion and dedication driving these individuals, they would have no doubt we are heading in the right direction when it comes to securing elections in this country.”

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