S.F. Election Audited with Dungeons & Dragons Dice

You’ll just ‘die’ when you see how the S.F. Department of Elections confirms the accuracy of its machine-counted ballots.

gringer/Wikimedia Commons

We all have a good laugh at Florida’s ballot recount process every few elections, but San Francisco has a hand-recount process of its own unusual alignment. It’s a process called “Random Selection of One Percent of the Precincts for Manual Tally” a frankly sensible and called-for audit that requires the S.F. Department of Elections to hand-count a randomly determined one percent of the city’s machine-counted ballots to double-check that the reported machine voting totals are accurate, on-point, and unhacked.

And in true San Francisco nerd culture fashion, Dungeons & Dragons dice (Well actually, they’re called “die”) are used to determine the random one percent of precincts that will get audited. “The Department of Elections selected precincts using three, 10-sided dice,” they said in a release.

This process happened Saturday, as seen in the 16-minute video above from the SF Elections YouTube channel.

There are 604 voting precincts in San Francisco, so a one percent audit requires the random generation of six eligible precincts. Not every precinct is eligible, though, which is why it took more than ten minutes just to roll up six numbers. Only precincts that had a full ballot, including a Board of Supervisors contest, are eligible for the audit. Supervisor contests were only held in even-numbered districts in this year’s November elections.

Ten-sided die were not invented exclusively for Dungeons & Dragons, and were originally patented in 1906. But they became widely associated with the game in the early 1980s when the “d10” was included in the dice sets of the Dungeons & Dragons box games.

Here are the six precincts that were randomly selected for hand-count audits.  Few San Franciscans actually know their voting precinct number offhand, but you can find out your own precinct number with this Polling Place & Sample Lookup ballot tool, and then cross-check whether your precinct was among the districts selected for a manual hand count audit.

The Department of Elections is still counting vote-by-mail and provisional ballots from the Nov. 6 election. But they only have 2,500 more votes to count (out of more than 370,000), and are expected to report the final count of all precinct’s tallies by 5 p.m. today. The hand-count audit will begin Monday, Nov. 26.

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