The Annals of Applied Statistics

A sharper discrepancy measure for post-election audits

Philip B. Stark

Full-text: Open access


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 [Ann. Appl. Statist. 2 (2008) 550–581] finds.

Article information

Ann. Appl. Stat., Volume 2, Number 3 (2008), 982-985.

First available in Project Euclid: 13 October 2008

Permanent link to this document

Digital Object Identifier

Mathematical Reviews number (MathSciNet)

Zentralblatt MATH identifier

Elections auditing error bounds in auditing


Stark, Philip B. A sharper discrepancy measure for post-election audits. Ann. Appl. Stat. 2 (2008), no. 3, 982--985. doi:10.1214/08-AOAS171.

Export citation