House OKs bill including Assembly races in post-elections audit law


STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives today approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Edith Ajello to include General Assembly elections among those audited by the Board of Elections afterwards to ensure equipment and procedures worked properly.

“Voters deserve to have confidence in the elections process at every level. Of course that should apply to the election of their state representatives and senators, whose decisions affect all Rhode Islanders. Post-elections audits are a way to transparently verify that the votes were counted accurately and that all the procedures were followed correctly, so Rhode Islanders can be assured that the results truly reflect the votes that were cast,” said Representative Ajello (D-Dist. 1, Providence).

In effect, post-election audits are partial recounts of results to verify that the voting system is accurately recording and counting votes. Representative Ajello was also the sponsor of the law enacted in 2017 to require post-election audits after all statewide primary, general and special elections. That law, which was enacted following Russian attempts to interfere with 2016 elections in the United States, allowed the Board of Elections to determine which local, statewide and federal contests to audit.

The legislation (2024-H 7328) passed by the House today widens the bill to include General Assembly races. The bill now heads to the Senate, where Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown, New Shoreham) is sponsoring companion legislation (2024-S 2458).

Under the existing law, the Board of Elections audits voting results within seven days after an election using established rules and proven methodologies. These audits serve as a deterrent to voter fraud and help to avoid unnecessary full recounts by showing when a recount is necessary, as well as uncovering programming errors, equipment malfunctions and bugs in the system.