A person requesting a recount must, other than an automatic recount, pay the costs and should be required to give security to cover the same. If the recounting does not change the announced result, the requesting party pays the costs. If the recounting changes the results of the election, the cost is to be paid by the governmental unit involved.


After the recount, should it appear that the results of an election are incorrect, the sole remedy is to file an election contest. After the contest is heard, the authority charged with hearing the contest can declare a new winner.


Automatic Recount in General Elections


An automatic recount occurs when the margin of defeat in a general election is not more than one-half of one percent of the votes cast for the office, or the ballot measure. An automatic recount will be commenced within 72 hours after certification of the results of the election unless, within 24 hours after the certification, a written waiver for a recount is submitted by the defeated candidate. In the case of an election for any federal, state, circuit, or district office, or the state Senate, state House of Representatives, or any other office that is not a county office, the written waiver may be submitted to the Secretary of State. In the case of an election for any county office, the written waiver may be submitted to the judge of probate.


The canvassing board shall obtain the polling officials necessary to conduct the automatic recount. The polling officials shall be compensated in the same manner and at the same rate as provided by law for vote tabulation in an election that does not result in a recount. Costs shall be kept to a minimum by using county personnel or volunteer workers whenever possible, under the supervision of a trained and certified poll official. The expenses of an automatic recount shall be a state charge if the recount is held for any federal, state, circuit, or district office, or the state Senate, state House of Representatives, or any other office that is not a county office. Otherwise, the expenses shall be a county charge.


The automatic recount shall be conducted as simply as the type of equipment and local conditions permit, provided that certain procedural safeguards are observed. Additionally, representatives of opposing interests shall be given at least 24 hours notice and shall be invited to participate in the recount.


After an automatic recount, the appropriate certifying authority shall amend the initial certification of the election to reflect the results of the recount. The time limit for contesting the election shall be suspended until the vote is recertified, reflecting the results of the automatic recount. If the results of the automatic recount name as a winner a person other than the person initially certified, the outcome shall constitute grounds for an election contest as prescribed by law.


Automatic Recount in Primary Elections


The code does not provide automatic recounts for primary elections.


Recanvassing (Recounting)


The three instances where a recanvassing is necessary and therefore permitted are:


  1. For obtaining the results of an election when the election officials have failed to make a return, but only after receiving an order by the court to break the seals to obtain the results.
  2. For hearing a contest.
  3. For the purpose of a grand jury investigation.


Sometimes complaining individuals want only to have the votes counted over again. To obtain a recount in a general election, any person with standing to contest may petition the canvassing board for a recount of any or all precincts. A recount request must be made within 48 hours after the official canvas of county returns. Recount requests are to be made before the canvassing board. The recount must be conducted before a precinct election official.


Other than for an automatic recount, a person with standing to contest an election who petitions for a recount, must be prepared to pay the costs and should be required to give security to cover the same. If the recounting does not change the announced result, the requesting party should pay the costs. If the recounting changes the results of the election, the cost should be borne by the county unit involved.


In any event, the costs at stake should be relatively small. The ballot container would have to be opened and the canvassing board or its representative would have to re-run the ballots through the electronic voting machine and compare the new voting results with the old voting results. As in the case of the initial canvass, the parties involved and the press should be allowed to attend to ensure fairness.


Recount in Primary Elections


Those contesting the results of a primary must be qualified electors, must belong to the party whose primary they are contesting and must have legally participated in that primary. When a primary election is contested, the contestant is required to deposit a bond or other security against the costs.


Recount in Municipal Elections


Any person with standing to contest a municipal election may petition the canvassing authority for a recount of any or all precinct returns within 48 hours after the official canvass of returns. The recount must be conducted under the supervision of a trained and certified poll official and shall be conducted as simply as the type of equipment and local conditions permit, provided that certain procedural safeguards are observed. Representatives of opposing interests must be given at least 24 hours notice of the recount and shall be invited to participate.


The petitioner must give security to cover the estimated costs of the recount and must be prepared to pay the actual costs. If the recount produces a change in precinct totals which alters the result of the election, the outcome shall constitute grounds for an election contest. If the recount of the resulting contest alters the result of the election, the cost of the recount will be borne by the municipality.