Bill Text: NH SB157 | 2023 | Regular Session | Amended

NOTE: There are more recent revisions of this legislation. Read Latest Draft
Bill Title: Relative to election audits.

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Republican 3-1)

Status: (Engrossed - Dead) 2023-06-27 - Conference Committee Report; Not Signed Off; House Journal 16 [SB157 Detail]

Download: New_Hampshire-2023-SB157-Amended.html

SB 157-FN - AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE

 

02/09/2023   0248s

2023 SESSION

23-0819

04/10

 

SENATE BILL 157-FN

 

AN ACT relative to election audits.

 

SPONSORS: Sen. Gray, Dist 6; Sen. Murphy, Dist 16; Sen. Perkins Kwoka, Dist 21; Rep. S. Smith, Sull. 3

 

COMMITTEE: Election Law and Municipal Affairs

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill requires the secretary of state to conduct audits of a certain percentage of AccuVote machines to be used at state primary and general elections.

 

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

02/09/2023   0248s 23-0819

04/10

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty Three

 

AN ACT relative to election audits.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  New Subdivision; Election Audits.  Amend RSA 660 by inserting after section 31 the following new subdivision:

Election Audits

660:32  Audit Authorized.  The secretary of state may conduct an audit of the AccuVote electronic ballot counting devices used in any state primary and general elections.

660:33  Equipment and Technical Assistance.  The secretary of state shall procure the equipment and arrange for any required technical assistance to support the audit process.  The equipment selected shall be capable of:

I.  Reading AccuVote ballots.

II.  Scanning approximately 2,000 ballots per hour.

III.  Capturing an image of both sides of the ballot.

IV.  Recording the voters' choices.

V.  Assigning a unique identifier to each record.

VI.  Displaying the ballot image and voter choice for randomly selected ballots by the unique identifier.

660:34  State AccuVote Election Audit.  

I.  The secretary of state shall randomly select not less than 4 towns or city wards that will use AccuVote devices at a state general election to be audited.  The secretary of state may divide towns or city wards into groups for the selection based on criteria such as the estimated number of election day ballots to be processed.  The selection of towns or city wards to be audited shall be non-public and made at least 2 weeks prior to the general election, after the AccuVote memory cards have been programed.  

II.  At a state primary election, the secretary of state shall conduct an audit of one percent of the number of AccuVote machines to be used, but not less than 2 AccuVote machines.  At a state general election, the secretary of state shall conduct an audit of 3 percent of AccuVote machines to be used, but not more than 6 AccuVote machines.

III.  The secretary of state shall not announce which towns or city wards have been selected to be audited until at least 12:00 p.m. on election day.

IV.  The audit team shall consist of at least 2 individuals appointed by the secretary of state.  One such individual shall have been trained by the secretary of state in the audit process and the use of audit equipment.  The other individual, if not trained by the secretary of state in the audit process and the use of audit equipment, shall be an elected election official.  The audit team shall scan all of the ballots which were cast and processed by the AccuVote machines in the selected towns or city wards.  The secretary of state may enlist the support of technical experts as an audit team member to assist with the technology being used.

V.  The audit shall be open to the public but no one except audit team members shall be allowed to touch any ballot or any of the audit equipment.

VI.  Preliminary results from the scanning of the ballots shall be announced by the audit team at the conclusion of the town or city ward audit.  The secretary of state shall report final results pursuant to paragraph VII.

VII.  A random sample of not less than 4 percent of the ballots scanned shall be selected and the images of the ballots selected shall be compared with the voters' choices recorded for the ballot.  Any differences identified during the comparison shall be documented.

VIII.  The secretary of state shall make the results of the audits available prior to 12:00 p.m. on the Friday after the election.  The secretary shall also report the results to the ballot law commission, and the chairpersons of the house of representatives and senate standing committees with jurisdiction over election law.

2  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect upon its passage.

 

LBA

23-0819

Revised 1/23/23

 

SB 157-FN- FISCAL NOTE

AS INTRODUCED

 

AN ACT relative to election audits.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:      [ X ] State              [    ] County               [    ] Local              [    ] None

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

STATE:

FY 2023

FY 2024

FY 2025

FY 2026

   Appropriation

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0 to $97,300

$0 to $37,300

   Expenditures

$0

$0

$0

$0

Funding Source:

  [ X ] General            [    ] Education            [    ] Highway           [    ] Other

 

 

 

 

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill authorized and requires the Secretary of State to conduct audit of a certain percentage of the AccuVote electronic ballot counting devices used in any state primary and general elections.  It allows The Secretary of State to procure the equipment and arrange for any required technical assistance to support the audit process.  The equipment selected shall be capable of:

I.  Reading AccuVote ballots.

II.  Scanning approximately 2,000 ballots per hour.

III.  Capturing an image of both sides of the ballot.

IV.  Recording the voters' choices.

V.  Assigning a unique identifier to each record.

VI.  Displaying the ballot image and voter choice for randomly selected ballots by the unique identifier.

 

The Department of State indicates although they have already purchased a high speed scanner to comply with previous legislation meeting the requirements of this bill, due to the increased number of audits of machines used during the general election from 4 to at least 8 it may be necessary to purchase an additional high speed scanner.  The cost to aquire an additional scanner, if needed, would be approximately $40,000 with additional cost for annual software subscription per machine of $37,000 and programing costs per ballot of $2,000.  With at least 10 machines being audited each election year (2 in primary and 8 in general) the programing cost is estimated to be $20,000 for a total of $97,300 in increased State General fund expenditures in the year the machine is purchased and a reoccurring State General Fund expenditure in each additional year of $37,000.  

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Department of State

 

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