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Howard County has signed up to have its election results audited.

The Howard County Election Board last week voted unanimously on a resolution to sign up the county for a voluntary post-election audit by the Voting System Technical Oversight Program (VSTOP) run by faculty at Ball State University. The program works in partnership with the Indiana Secretary of State’s office. VSTOP also advises the Secretary of State office and the Indiana Election Commission on the certification of voting machines and electronic poll books in Indiana.

The post-election audit will check a randomized number of paper ballots to make sure the initial machine readings are confirmed and accurate, according to the secretary of state’s website.

The decision to have the post-election audit comes not out of concern for the integrity of local elections but the desire for the county to participate in the growing voluntary audit program after hearing about it during a presentation by Indiana Secretary of State Holli Sullivan.

“In listening to them and hearing their presentation on this, I thought ‘Why not? Let’s go ahead and have them perform the audit,’” Howard County Clerk Debbie Stewart said.

Republican Election Board member Phil Thurston said he was confident Howard County will perform well on the audit.

“I think we believe that our election process beats anyone’s,” Thurston said.

Following the 2020 general election, VSTOP conducted post-election audits in five counties, including Cass, LaPorte, Marion, Madison and Vigo counties. Sullivan announced earlier this year at a ribbon cutting for the new VSTOP facility that the number of post-election audits the state conducts after the general election would double to 10.

A timetable for the Howard County post-election audit is not yet known.

“As the state’s chief elections officer, one of the most important responsibilities I have is to verify that all Hoosier votes are accurately counted and that proper election procedures are followed,” Sullivan said in an April statement. “Doubling the number of audits the state conducts is another vital step to providing transparency to voters and increasing confidence in our state’s electoral process.”

Tyler Juranovich can be reached at 765-454-8577, by email at tyler.juranovich@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at @tylerjuranovich.

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