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Idaho’s post-election audit finds very small margin of error

A man who appears blurred is walking in front of empty voting booths.
Otto Kitsinger
Associated Press
A man leaves the voting booths after voting in the 2016 primary election in Boise.

A post-election audit of eight randomly-chosen Idaho counties is complete and shows very few voting anomalies.

The audit of the May primary election took place over three days in Ada, Bannock, Bonneville, Idaho, Jerome, Kootenai, Madison and Payette counties.

Certain precincts within the counties were randomly selected for hand counts to verify the results.

The races reviewed in select precincts included that of the Secretary of State and a couple of close House races — one between Rep. Judy Boyle and Rep. Scott Syme and one between Rep. Ron Nate and former Rep. Britt Raybould.

Phil McGrane won the Republican primary for the Secretary of State role. Boyle and Raybould both won their House races, but Syme is requesting a recount, according to the Idaho Capital Sun.

The tallies from the audit revealed only six discrepancies out of nearly 20,000 ballots reviewed — a .03% margin of error, well below the .5% threshold that could have prompted a more thorough investigation. All but one of the differences between the audit and the initial canvass were explained by further review.

“We have a high degree of integrity," said Chad Houck, the Chief Deputy Secretary of State. "There’s a lot of commentary nationally about ballots being produced and stuffed into ballot boxes, and in Idaho, we just don’t see that that’s the case.”

The audit was prompted by a bill signed by Gov. Brad Little last legislative session, which called for random audits after primary and general elections.

The Idaho Secretary of State’s Office will soon release a report to review the findings and share its observations of the elections process.

“It is in these reports that we hope to be able to provide the real value of this process,” said Secretary of State Lawerence Denney in a press release.

“Sharing the observations, both positive and negative, that our teams are able to make over the course of this process with all 44 counties is one way we can continue to push Idaho’s processes forward and guarantee the continued high integrity of Idaho’s elections.”

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen

Copyright 2022 Boise State Public Radio

I cover environmental issues, outdoor recreation and local news for Boise State Public Radio. Beyond reporting, I contribute to the station’s digital strategy efforts and enjoy thinking about how our work can best reach and serve our audience. The best part of my job is that I get to learn something new almost every day.

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