Election audit confirms accuracy of Dubois County 2022 General Election

MicroVote employees, Regional Director Al Vermillion (standing) and General Manager Steve Shamo, confirmed the electronic ballots with the paper receipts during the audit. Each ballot is assigned a randomized number during the election. Shamo would direct Vermillion to locate a ballot by its location on the roll (say the 70th ballot recorded on the roll, for example) and then compare the randomized number between the electronic ballot and paper receipt before confirming the votes in all the races on the ballot even though only three races were being audited. No voter identity information was shared during the process.

Dubois County Clerk Amy Kippenbrock’s hopes were confirmed yesterday as an audit of the 2022 General Election revealed no discrepancies.

The audit was conducted by VSTOP (Voting System Technical Oversight Program). This Ball State University initiative tests all of the election equipment used in Indiana for an added layer of safety and security.

According to the university, the program is directed by Dr. Jay Bagga from Ball State’s Department of Computer Science, along with Dr. Chad Kinsella from Ball State’s Department of Political Science. The VSTOP team advises the Indiana Secretary of State and the Indiana Election Commission on the certification of voting machines and electronic poll books in Indiana.

Tuesday morning, Dr. Kinsella and his team, with the assistance of the clerk’s office and the county’s election equipment vendor, MicroVote, randomly selected 13 of the county’s 90 voting machines to compare the electronic ballots with the printed receipts, or VVPAT — Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail, voters could review before confirming their ballots.

The group chose three races to audit; State Auditor, Dubois County Superior Court Judge, and Dubois County Commissioner District 1. After about five hours of comparing the paper and electronic ballots, VSTOP confirmed a 100 percent accuracy rate in each race they audited.

While each ballot in the 13 machines was not individually confirmed, VSTOP used an algorithm based on a discrepancy rate compared to the number of votes in a given race to determine how many ballots in each race to check. Depending on the number of votes cast in a race, the sample size varied.

The audit was open to the public to attend, and a couple of people did show up to watch. Along with Dubois County residents, the Knox County and Spencer County clerks also stopped in to learn about the process. Those counties will be audited in the coming weeks.

According to Dr. Kinsella, the goal of the audits is to increase voter confidence by ensuring their votes are accurately represented. He pointed out that a lack of voter confidence is a foundational issue in creating a lack of confidence and support in the representative government.

Dubois County was selected as one of VSTOP’s audit counties after Kippenbrock inquired about the process. Along with ensuring the accuracy of the election, she noted that learning more about the election process and refining the county’s election operations is always beneficial for election officials and voters.

“I am glad we volunteered for this,” Kippenbrock said. “I am confident in our excellent process of running the elections here in Dubois County. This audit confirms that our procedures are correct and that voters can have great confidence in the reporting of their votes.”