Idaho Primary Election Audit Of 20K Ballots Finds Few Flaws

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A audit of Idaho's May primary found only six variations from initial results of about 20,000 ballots chosen at random from precincts in eight counties, officials said Wednesday.

The Idaho secretary of state’s office released a third and final set of results from the three-day audit of the May 17 primary election in which about a third of Idaho's nearly 1 million registered voters cast ballots.

The audit found that five of the six variations were due to sorting errors, and that one couldn’t be immediately explained.

“It reinforces what we've been saying for the last several years — that Idaho's election process is solid,” said Chief Deputy Secretary of State Chad Houck.

The audit follows a new law passed unanimously earlier this year by the House and Senate to increase public confidence in election results by checking paper ballots. Republican Gov. Brad Little called for such audits at the start of the year as part of his “Leading Idaho” plan that includes enhancing election transparency.

“The outcome of the first post-election integrity audits prove what Idaho has consistently demonstrated — that we administer our elections with the utmost care and preparedness,” Little said in a statement late Wednesday. “Our ‘Leading Idaho’ plan continues these post-election audits moving forward and adds resources to protect our elections against cyber threats.”

Republican Secretary of State Lawerence Denney said he was pleased with the outcome of the audit. "We are already looking at how we can improve the process — and the scope of our review — to continue to provide meaningful insight to the elections community and bolster confidence amongst Idaho voters that Idaho’s election procedures, security measures, and ultimately, election outcomes can be relied upon.”

The audit is a way to also check the equipment and procedures used to count votes in the state's 44 counties.

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, an ally of former President Donald Trump, made unsubstantiated claims and floated conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election in multiple states in an attempt to undermine voter confidence in the outcome. That extended even to Idaho, where Trump easily won the deeply conservative state with nearly 64% of the vote.

But Idaho officials said a partial recount of ballots cast in that election validated the results, rejecting Lindell's claims.

At least three Republican statewide candidates who lost in Idaho's recent primary repeated Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin lost to Gov. Brad Little in the primary for governor.

Rep. Dorothy Moon and Sen. Mary Souza lost to Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane in the primary for secretary of state. Denney chose not to seek a third term as secretary of state.

Ada, Bannock, Bonneville, Idaho, Jerome, Kootenai, Madison and Payette counties took part in the audit.

State officials said a secondary report involving lessons learned will be released later this month.