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A Sharper Discrepancy Measure for Post-Election Audits
The Annals of Applied Statistics (2008)
  • Philip B Stark, University of California, Berkeley

Post-election audits use the discrepancy between machine counts and a hand tally of votes in a random sample of precincts to infer whether error affected the electoral outcome. The maximum relative overstatement of pairwise margins (MRO) quantifies that discrepancy. The electoral outcome a full hand tally shows must agree with the apparent outcome if the MRO is less than 1. This condition is sharper than previous ones when there are more than two candidates or when voters may vote for more than one candidate. For the 2006 U.S.~Senate race in Minnesota, a test using MRO gives a $P$-value of 4.05\% for the hypothesis that a full hand tally would find a different winner, less than half the value Stark (2008) finds.

  • elections,
  • auditing,
  • hypothesis testing
Publication Date
Citation Information
Philip B Stark. "A Sharper Discrepancy Measure for Post-Election Audits" The Annals of Applied Statistics Vol. in press (2008)
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