by Guy Page
On April 29, Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos announced the completion of the 2020 Vermont General Election Audit, which was conducted on April 28 at the Pavilion Auditorium located in Montpelier. Seven towns or cities were selected at random for the 2020 General Election Audit: Brandon, Pownal, Randolph, South Burlington (Chittenden 7-4), Topsham, Warren and Worcester. In a press release, SOS spokesperson Eric Covey said, “no significant abnormalities or discrepancies were found between the audit results and the Official Returns of Vote.”
Vermont Daily wanted to know what Covey meant by “significant.” So we sent him this email:
“The headline and story says no significant abnormalities or discrepancies. I understand the full report will be out soon and will tell all – but can you please provide more detail on any abnormalities or discrepancies that were found?”
Covey responded April 30:
“In order to best understand, our advice to you is to watch the video recording of the audit, which was done publicly and transparently.
“Minor deviations of 1-2 votes are common. These are typically the result of voters who do not follow the instructions for marking the ballot. For instance if an oval was circled rather than filled in, the tabulator won’t register that vote, but it may be found by the election officials when reviewing the ballots for write-in names and the totals from the tabulator tape are adjusted. The audit won’t pick up that vote either, so the audit would show one less vote counted for the candidate. Conversely, if the voter marks the ballot too lightly, it may not be picked up by the tabulator and may not be adjusted by the election officials on review, but it may be picked up by the audit software, resulting in one additional vote for that candidate.
“These are just a few examples of what can lead to these minor deviations. The point, however, is that this audit, like those before it, shows clearly that there is no underlying manipulation of the programming or systemic inaccuracy in the tabulators. They were, again, shown to be extremely accurate when the ballot is properly marked by the voters. The results again give us strong confidence in the accuracy and integrity of the official results.
“These are a normal part of any audit, and occur in very small numbers.
“The purpose of the audit is to verify the accuracy of the tabulators used on election night, and ensure that there are no systematic or significant deviations between the audit results and the Official Return of Vote.”
In the April 29 press release, Covey promised “the results of the audit will be posted on the Secretary of State’s website once the data has been formatted.”
When the specific results are posted, Vermont Daily will report them.