House Bill 137 — Postelection ballot audit

House Bill 137 — Postelection ballot audit

by
Parrish Miller
February 15, 2021

Bill Description: House Bill 137 authorizes the secretary of state to order a post-election audit of election results.

Rating: +2

Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?

House Bill 137 creates Section 34-1203A, Idaho Code, which authorizes the Idaho Secretary of State office to "identify and order a postelection audit of certain paper ballots cast in any election."

Auditing paper ballots is a positive step toward increasing the security and accuracy of elections. House Bill 137 does not require such audits, however; it merely allows them to take place. The value of such audits could be increased by adding a requirement that some precincts be randomly selected for an audit after every election. 

(+1)

Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency or accountability? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency or accountability?

House Bill 137 requires that the secretary of state "immediately post to the website of the office of the secretary of state a list of the precincts and elections selected for audit." It further requires that "the county clerk shall conduct any postelection audits ordered by the secretary of state, which audit shall be open to attendance by news media personnel." The process must "include provisions allowing each interested candidate and political party to appoint a designated observer."

These are positive efforts toward transparency, but they could be enhanced by requiring the audit process to be livestreamed so the public could observe.

(+1)

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