Connecticut Recount Laws

This information was updated in September 2013.

Voting System Used: 

Paper ballot (optical scanners)

For more details, visit Verified Voting.

Counting Method: 

Mix of recount and retabulation

Connecticut conducts what it refers to as a “recanvass,” which is primarily a voting machine retabulation but utilizes some counting by hand. See the General Statutes of Connecticut, Chapter 148, Section 9-311, Subsection (b), "Recanvass in case of discrepancy."

Ballots to be counted by hand are described on page 9 of the Recanvass Procedure Manual.

Initiating Mechanism: 

Close vote margin
Election official-initiated

Election Official-Initiated Recounts: The election moderator (the person in charge of the polling place or central absentee counting location) may conduct a recanvass if they believe there to be discrepancies in any of the returns. Details can be found in Section 9-311. There do not appear to be any limitations on the type of election or the office for which such recanvasses can be conducted. Timing: The moderator may initiate a recanvass any time within three days after the election. Election officials must meet by the fifth business day after the election to begin the recanvass. See Section 9-311, Subsection (a).

Close Vote Margin: 

Less than or equal to .5%
Vote count difference (not percentage-based)
Varies by election contest

Connecticut has two different thresholds for a close vote margin to trigger a recanvass. For general elections, the difference between the apparent winning candidate and the next candidate must be "(1) less than a vote equivalent to one-half of one per cent of the total number of votes cast for the office but not more than two thousand votes, or (2) less than twenty votes." One should note that the first initiating mechanism outlined here has two margins described (less than 0.5% and less than two thousand votes) and that the election results must fall within both to qualify for a recanvass, while the second initiating mechanism has only a single margin (less than twenty votes). See Chapter 148, Section 9-311a, "Recanvass on close vote."

Close vote margin recanvasses are applicable to all elected offices at the municipal, district, and state level, with presidential electors specially defined as a statewide office for recanvassing purposes. See Section 9-311a as it pertains to Section 9-372. Similar but separate requirements exist for recanvassing primaries. Again, there are two components of the close vote margin requirement: “(1) less than a vote equivalent to one-half of one per cent of the total number of votes cast at the primary for the office or position but not more than one thousand votes, or (2) less than twenty votes.” See Chapter 153, Section 9-445, “Recanvass on close vote.”

Timing: See Section 9-311a and 9-445.

Challengers and Observers: 

Statutes specify that recount must be public
Party/candidate or initiator has statutory authority to appoint observers
No statutory guidance for recount challengers

Section 9-311, Subsection (b) states that “All recanvassing procedures shall be open to public observation.” Subsection (a) also allows for two representatives from each “chairman of the town committee of each political party which nominated candidates for the election.” Such representatives are allowed to observe, and to present evidence of any observed irregularities in a court contest related to the election, but no mention is made of their ability to challenge.

Rules for Determining Voter Intent: 

No statutory guidance provided

While voter intent is not defined in Connecticut statute, standards for judging ballots during recanvasses are based on court-established precedents. However, investigation of such case law lies outside the current scope of the CEIMN State Recounts Laws Searchable Database.