Ohio Working Group

This page will serve as a public repository for links and documents related to the Ohio Working Group of the Audit Working Meeting, October 23-24, 2009.

Link to private Ohio Working Group page (login required)

Basic Background (courtesy of Ron Olson) -- see references/resources below


·         Elections are run by counties

·         Counties - 88 counties, many are rural (31 counties cast less than 20K votes in 2008), largest county (Cuyahoga) cast 660K votes in 2008

·         Precincts (based on 2006 data): about 11,800 precincts; votes cast varied from 1 to max of 1,196.



·         County Boards of Elections (BOE’s) run elections

·         4 member board with two from each major party

·         Director/deputy director from opposite parties

·         Chairperson of board is opposite party of director

·         Tie votes of Board are settled by SoS



·         5 statewide offices during non-Presidential midterm elections

·         2-4 supreme court positions

·         2-5 statewide issues

·         33 state senator elected every four years (alternates 16 and 17)

·         99 state assembly seats elected every two years


2008 election numbers

·         Votes cast in 2008 -  roughly 5.7 million

·         Provisionals– 206,859 cast in 2008 with 39,989 rejected (19.3%), 18,860 rejections were for not registered, 14,335 rejections were for casting ballot in wrong county or precinct

·         Absentees – 1,700,257 ballots returned by 11/15 (about 30% of all votes), 22,991 rejected (1.3%)

·         UOCAVA– 7,045 ballots returned by 11/15, 250 rejected (3.5%)



·         The “Unofficial Canvass” is provided election night

·         There is a waiting period (10 days for general election, 20 days for primary in Presidential Elections) for late arriving mail-in ballots and for verification of provisional ballots.

·         On or right after the 21st  day (or 31st day for Presidential Elections), the Official Canvass begins.  All ballots are counted (Election Day ballots are counted a second time) and provisional ballots and late arriving mail-in ballots are counted for the first time.

·         The results are certified by the board members of the county Board of Elections and are sent to the Sec of State as the “Official Certification”

·         Results from the “Official Certification” can be amended within 80 days (90 days for Presidential Primaries) after they are issued.

·         Recounts are done after the Official Certification.   These are automatic if the margin is 0.5% or less.  Recounts can be requested for a specific race (and are then paid for by the requestor).

·         Recount results are certified by Board members in a public meeting


Voting Machines

·         DRE & ADA: Premier AccuVote/TSx (44 counties)

·         OS: ES&S Model 100, ADA: ES&S AutoMark (29 counties)

·         DRE & ADA: ES&S iVotronic (9 counties)

·         OS: Premier AccuVote, ADA: Premier AccuVote/TSx (3 counties)

·         OS: Hart eScan, ADA: Hart eSlate (2 counties)

·         OS: ES&S Model 100, ADA: ES&S iVotronic (1 county)

·         Central Count OS is not legal


Absentee/Early Voting

·         No excuse absentee/early voting

·         Early voting starts 35 days before election day and can be done in person or through the mail

·         Since voters can register up to 30 days before an election, there is a 5 day period where you can register and vote during the same visit.


Audit Law

·         Ohio law does not mention audits

·         Sec Brunner published directive 2008-39 which directed BOE’s to do March Audit and 2008-113 for November audit.  Directives were for those specific elections, so would not seem to require audits in future.

·         Next SoS can discard any Directives they wish or publish new ones (I believe)

·         LWV Ohio settlement with SOS requires post election audits “such as those” in 2008-39 and 2008-113 through Jan 2015 with LWV Ohio having the right to intervene in court if this is not being done


Audit Procedure (specifically for Nov 2008 election)

·         Contests audited: President and one option local race chosen randomly

·         Precincts are chosen randomly by slips of paper until 5% of votes cast are included

·         Hand count is done of all ballots types for those precincts

·         If overall vote discrepancy is more than 2 votes another 3% of precincts are selected and counted

·         If overall vote discrepancy is still more than 2 votes a full hand count is done


Recount Laws

·         Margin less than 0.5% triggers an automatic recount

·         For margin over 0.5%, recount can be requested but costs are paid by the requestor

References and Resources

These are posted in order of priority, with Ron's annotations. Ron suggests that the first two make a good start.

Directive 2008-113: Directions for November 2008 audit


We recommend that you read the version of this with Ron Olson's comments, posted as an attachment on the private page [see link above]

Review of November 2008 Audit 


has observer experiences, recommendations based on experience of using 2008-113. The Findings and Recommendations (pp 12-15) include a useful list of what observers observed in the audit and what could be improved.

Draft Audit Directive: Suggested modifications to 2008-39 before 2008-113 was published (9/10/2008, 22 pages)


We took the Directive for the March audit and made suggested changes to procedural details for November.

P 2 has our list of five essential audit elements (three were included)

P 4 has a proposal for an Ohio Election Board

P 8 has two sets of tiers (statewide and non-statewide)that would yield the desired confidence levels (assuming statewide escalation)

Pp 17-20 documents the escalation trigger (which gets very complicated)


Recommended Procedures: Procedural recommendations (6/2/2008, 15 pages)


Provides detailed suggestions for 12 step process for a risk limiting audit (Select contests, determine WPM, determine escalation procedures, report official precinct level results, gather statewide data and determine percentage of ballots to audit in each contest, etc)

This might be a useful example if we get to this level of detail in our recommendations

Ohio White Paper: Consideration of Ohio Audits in 2008 (2/19/2008, 30 pages)


Introductory paper on audits.  Very little new here for anyone with audit background.  

Original recommendations for Ohio audits (e.g., PPEBWR/APR and contests to audit) on pp 13-24

Audit cost estimates for Ohio 2004 & 2006 elections comparing APR and Holt 3/5/10 might be of some interest (pp 24-26)


Directive 2008-34: hand count procedures (3/3/2008, 4 pages)

Probably not that important for a high level discussion



Directive 2008-39: Directions for March 2008 audit (3/21/2008, 7 pages)


Not much value in reading this now since Directive 2008-113 is an improvement

Precinct-level data from the last three even-year general elections:

2008, 4.7 MB: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/elections/2008/gen/2008precincts.xls

2006, 2.8 MB: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/elections/2006/gen/Gen06Statewide.csv

2004, 5.4 MB: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/elections/2004/gen/precincts.xls

Election legislation being considered now

Sponsored by Sen Seitz (R): SB 8: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=128_SB_8

Sponsored by Rep Mecklenborg (S): HB 92: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=128_HB_92 (companion bill to SB 8) Sponsored by Rep Stewart (D) in collaboration with Sec Brunner: HB 260: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/news/20090804b.pdf

Sec Brunner summary of HB 260: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/news/20090804.pdf