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Election audits in Michigan begin this week with rolling of 10-sided die

Audits for the 2022 election in Michigan will begin this week.

They were delayed because of the partial recounts for Proposals 2 and 3, which were certified in late December.

The new audits began Thursday, when a bipartisan group gathered to randomly select which jurisdictions will be audited.

They did this by rolling a 10-sided die twenty times to create a string of numbers, which was used to count off batches of ballots that will be audited across Michigan. The dice rolling was streamed on YouTube.

The batches of selected ballots will be hand-counted by local clerks over the next few weeks and compared with the results of the tabulator from Election Day. The process is called ballot auditing, which allows the clerks to compare their selected batches with the results of the precinct.

Chris Swope is a Lansing City Clerk and one of the officials selected to roll the dice.

“This is a little more intuitive for folks to understand, we're comparing the actual results from the tabulator to the actual count of the ballots,” he said.

Procedural, or precinct-level, audits, will also occur across the state. Those involve reviewing how the election was administered in each precinct and looking for ways to improve the process.

Jake Rollow, a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of State, said post-election audits are standard procedure, and they're useful to allow clerks to review election procedures and ensure they were carried out correctly.

“It gives election officials the opportunity to identify best practices and implement improvements for future elections,” Rollow said.

These audits are in part a result of a constitutional amendment implemented in 2018 which expanded post-election audits across the state.

“We can continue to improve our elections and make them stronger and affirm voters' well-placed faith in our elections,” Rollow said.

The results of the audits will be shared in mid-February.

Taylor Bowie is a senior studying English Literature at the University of Michigan and an intern in the Michigan Radio newsroom. She is originally from Owosso, Michigan.
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