PWC Board Concludes Human Error ‘Likely’ Before Certifying Results
Non-profit electoral process group praises electoral board for responding to public’s calls to conduct a partial audit of discrepancies before certifying election results.
November 16, 2022 –- Election officials in Virginia’s Prince William County met to certify the results of the 2022 General Election after they conducted a hand-count of ballot counts in conflict with machine counts and concluded that human error was a “likely” cause rather than machine error.
The board’s decision to conduct a hand-count of the ballots in question followed a call for a review from the public, local and state officials, and Electoral Process Education Corporation (EPEC), a Virginia-based non-profit 501c (3) that provides election data analysis.
The ballots in question in PWC’s Precinct 612 remain in the custody of the general registrar; the board ruled the matter resolved after conducting a hand count of the machine bin that tallied 27 more votes than physical ballots that were scanned into the machines. (See prior release detailing the error here: https://digitalpollwatchers.org/category/press-release.)
Although the PWC electoral board was not able to reconcile one outstanding difference between the poll-book count of votes cast and the machine scans in two precincts, it judged the differences were not likely coming from machine malfunctions.
While it is still problematic for poll books not to match the scanner tapes, it is a much more serious issue when the number of physical ballots in the accumulation bin and the scanner totals do not match.
EPEC’s recommendations based on its analysis of the election data include the following:
Standard processes should be updated to require verification that the number of ballots in the scanner collection bin match the scanner result report tape. If the numbers do not match, an on-premises hand tabulation be performed by the election officers and the results recorded in the official public record.
EPEC also commended the PWC board of elections for ensuring transparency by confirming that the final counts of the physical ballots align with machine scan tallies before certifying the results. ###
Electoral Process Education Corporation (www.EPEC.info) is a Virginia-based, non-profit, 501c (3) corporation which provides technology experts to analyze voting systems and election databases. Our charitable mission is to promote voter participation, analyze election technology, and educate the public about best practices in managing election technology systems. For more details, go to www.epec.info or www.digitalpollwatchers.org.