Noteworthy election recounts in the United States

An election recount is a process by which votes cast in an election are re-tabulated to verify the accuracy of the original results. Recounts typically occur in the event of a close margin of victory, accusations of election fraud, or the possibility of administrative errors. Recounts can either occur automatically or be requested by a candidate or voters. Twenty states have statutory provisions providing for automatic recalls, and 43 have a provision allowing for recounts to be requested.
 
According to a report published by the organization FairVote, 27 recounts occurred in statewide elections between 2000 and 2015. Of those, 15 were held when the original margin of victory was of 0.15 percent or less. Three of the 27 recounts resulted in a reversal of the original election result.
 
Since 2017, five noteworthy recounts have taken place at the state legislative level. Those five recounts resulted in two reversals of the initial election result, one of which became a tie. There were also three noteworthy recounts in statewide races in 2018, though none resulted in a change of the initial result.
 
Click below to learn how recounts can occur in your state.



About the author

Joel Williams

Joel Williams is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at joel.williams@ballotpedia.org

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