Risk-limiting Audits

Pursuant to Va. Code §24.2-671.1, the Department of Elections is required to coordinate an annual post- election risk-limiting audit (RLA) of ballot scanner machines used in the Commonwealth of Virginia. 


The Department of Elections conducted a statewide risk-limiting audit of the November 2020 General Election. Results were announced on March 2, 2021.

The state set a risk measurement of under .1 and the audit results fell well under that measurement. For the Presidential race the audit came in at .0000065117 and for the Senate race, the audit came in at .0000424172. The risk measurement represents the possibility a mistake could be found in the audit large enough to reverse the election result. In other words, these results confirm that the results in Virginia accurately portrayed the winners of these elections in Virginia.

You can view the results here.


Risk-Limiting Audit Results (March 2, 2021)
This video features Commissioner Chris Piper and VotingWorks' Ginny Vander Roest sharing acknowledgements and results of the state-wide risk-limiting audit recently conducted for the 2020 General Election.

Risk-Limiting Audit: Random Seed Number Generation (February 22, 2021)
As part of the risk-limiting audit process for Virginia's 2020 General Election, a random seed number needs to be generated. This allows the software to determine ballot selection for the audit. This recorded video of the live random seed number generation, via rolling of 20 ten-sided dice, demonstrates this important step in the process.

Risk-Limiting Audit Kick-off Meeting (February 16, 2021)
This video contains brief remarks from Commissioner Chris Piper and a short presentation from VotingWorks' Ginny Vander Roest as Virginia begins its state-wide risk-limiting audit of the November 2020 General Election.

Risk-Limiting Audit Training Session for General Registrars (February 10, 2021)
This video contains an introduction by Commissioner Chris Piper and training presentation with representatives from VotingWorks. Q&A and additional information follows the presentation. 



In 2019, eight localities in Virginia conducted risk limiting audits (RLAs) including: Lancaster County, Franklin City, Bristol City, Loudoun County, Manassas City, Louisa County, Stafford County, and Rockingham County. Thirty-three localities participated in these audits as well. 

In 2018, the City of Fairfax conducted a trial of a post-election risk limiting audit in coordination with the City of Fairfax's registrar's office. They presented their process to the State Board of Elections on August 15, 2018. The purpose of this trial (pilot) was to establish a feasible post-election audit process that can be repeated in other localities. You can view their materials from that 2018 presentation for more details.

To learn more about what a Risk Limiting Audit is and how it works, click on this Risk-limiting Audit Overview for details.