Quirk Bill Will Improve Confidence in Election Result Outcomes
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill (AB) 2125, authored by Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), to create an election results verification pilot program, has been signed into law.
“AB 2125 will allow counties, at their discretion, to use risk-limiting audits to verify the outcomes of their elections,” explained Assemblymember Quirk. “Right now, the only way to verify the results of an election is if one of the candidates petitions for a costly and time consuming recount. A county that adopts this audit system will be able to verify the reported results of each election on the ballot quickly and accurately.”
Risk-limiting audits (RLAs) use statistics to determine how many ballots need to be counted in order to verify that the outcome is accurate. By looking at the number of votes cast in an election and the totals each candidate or measure earned , a RLA allows a county election official to know how many votes would have to have been miscounted in order for the election results to flip.
“Accurate elections are more important now than ever. Over the past two years we have learned that state elections are frequent targets of international adversaries backed by resources of powerful nations, like Russia,” commented Assemblymember Quirk. “It’s certainly possible that homegrown threats could try to disrupt elections as well. All of this comes a time of increased public cynicism of government and politics. Accurate elections are the bedrock of a free and open democracy. It is crucial that Californians, and indeed all Americans, believe in the power of the vote – the power of their voice.”
In 2009, Colorado approved the use of RLAs and required a statewide risk-limiting audit by the 2014 general election. Last November, Colorado became the first state in the nation to conduct a statewide RLA.
Assemblymember Quirks has worked closely with Secretary of State, Alex Padilla, to draft AB 2125 and guide it through the legislative process.
“Post-election risk-limiting audits are a major step towards increasing the transparency and ensuring the integrity of elections in California,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla. “Voter confidence in elections and vote results is vital to the health of our democracy. However, cyber threats to our elections are the new norm and they’re not going away. Elections officials must take every measure to ensure for voters the accuracy and the integrity of election results. By signing this measure, Governor Brown has made it easier for county elections officials to adopt post-election risk-limiting audits, helping keep California at the forefront of election security.”
“I am grateful to Secretary Padilla and his staff for their diligent work on this bill,” said Assemblymember Quirk. “Secretary Padilla and Governor Brown both understand the importance of safeguarding our elections, and I am proud of our work to bring modern knowledge of science and statistics to our elections process. AB 2125 will help prepare the state for the continued challenges the 21st Century will bring.”
AB 2125 will go into effect January 1, 2019.