Indiana Secretary of State Holli Sullivan announced the state will double its number of post-election audits following each general election.
“As the state’s chief elections officer, one of the most important responsibilities I have is to verify that all Hoosier votes are accurately counted and that proper election procedures are followed,” Secretary Sullivan said. “Doubling the number of audits the state conducts is another vital step to providing transparency to voters and increasing confidence in our state’s electoral process.”
Secretary Sullivan made the announcement during a new facility ribbon cutting for the Voting System Technical Oversight Program (VSTOP) at Ball State University in Muncie.
The Secretary of State’s office conducts audits in partnership with VSTOP.
Following the 2020 general election, Indiana conducted five post-election audits in counties throughout the state (Cass, LaPorte, Madison, Marion, and Vigo counties). At the conclusion of the 2022 General Election, Indiana will perform audits in 10 still-to-be-determined counties.
The Secretary of State and VSTOP will also conduct four post-election audits after each primary election.
“At Ball State University, we’re about more than educating students—we’re about serving our neighbors, our communities, and our state,” Ball State University President Geoffrey S. Mearns said. “I am proud of our University’s involvement in Indiana’s state elections through VSTOP. This project is a national model for how state universities can be an instrumental part of securing our right to vote.”
Indiana’s post-election audits provide strong statistical evidence that an election outcome is correct. This is done by manually checking a randomized sample of paper-voted ballots. In a post-election audit, ballots are not tallied by scanners. Every sampled ballot is hand-counted to determine if the initial machine readings are confirmed and accurate.
Post-election audits are valuable because they can detect problems with election outcomes with a high degree of statistical confidence. Properly conducted post-election audits increase voter confidence and add another layer of security to elections.
Secretary Sullivan was also present Friday for a graduation ceremony for VSTOP’s Certificate in Election Administration, Technology and Security (CEATS) program.
CEATS is designed to help train election administrators to be proficient in a number of diverse areas as it relates to the administration of elections including human resources, poll worker training, election and procedural law, budgets, physical space management, organizational communication, public relations, information technology, and cybersecurity.
The Voting System Technical Oversight Program (VSTOP) project is directed by Dr. Jay Bagga from Ball State’s Department of Computer Science, along with Dr. Bryan Byers from Ball State’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology. The VSTOP team advises the Indiana Secretary of State and the Indiana Election Commission on the certification of voting machines and electronic poll books in Indiana. VSTOP helped pioneer first-in-the-nation legislation authorizing the certification and testing of electronic poll books before they are permitted to be used in elections in Indiana. The project also entails the creation of a database containing all voting machines used in Indiana as well as reports on the best practices for operation of election equipment and for poll worker training.