Indiana Recount Laws

This information was updated in September, 2013.

Voting System Used: 

Mixed paper ballot and DREs without VVPAT

For more details, visit Verified Voting.

Counting Method: 

Mix of recount, retabulation and electronic review
Counting method chosen by initiator

Any initiator may request that ballots be recounted by hand. If they do not specify this in their request, ballots will by default be retabulated. See the Indiana Code, Title 3, “Elections,” Chapter 12, Sections 3-12-6-21.5, “Ballot card voting systems; petition for manual count and tabulation of votes;” 3-12-11-17.5, “Petition for manual recount of ballot cards; withdrawal of petition;” and 3-12-12-18, “Manual recount request; withdrawal.” While these statutes allow for the initiator to request a hand recount, it should be noted that most counties in Indiana no longer primarily use paper ballots. Instead, many use a mixture of paper ballots (primarily optical scan ballots) and direct-recording electronic machines (DREs) without a voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT), and most use only DREs without VVPAT. For the latter counties, only an electronic review of votes cast on DREs is possible.

Initiating Mechanism: 

Candidate-initiated
Voter-initiated

All recounts in Indiana for state, legislative, and federal offices, are overseen by the State Recount Commission. Details on the Commission can be found in Chapter 10, “State Recount Commission”: http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title3/ar12/ch10.html. All recounts of elections for local and school board offices, as well as all statewide and local public questions, are determined by county recount commissions. Each such commission consists of three members appointed by a court of the county in which one or more precincts to be recounted are located. See the Indiana Code, Section 3-12-6-14, “Order of recount and appointment of recount commission; conditions,” and 3-12-12-9, “Order of recount.”

Candidate-Initiated Options: 

Candidate determines how many/which precincts to recount
Party official may petition for candidate

Note: The Indiana Code addresses candidate-initiated recounts under two separate chapters in the Election Code. The first, Chapter 6, is “Recount Procedures for Nomination for and Election to Local and School Board Offices”: http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title3/ar12/ch6.html. The second, Chapter 11, is “Recount and Contest Procedures for Presidential Primary Elections and Nomination for and Election to Federal, State, and Legislative Offices”: http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title3/ar12/ch11.html. By and large, these two chapters stipulate the same requirements for both , but we have provided separate citations for each piece below nonetheless. Candidates may request recounts for both primary and general elections. Any candidate for a local or school board office, or for a federal, state, or legislative office, may petition for a recount. See Sections 3-12-6-1, “Right of recount; local or school board offices,” and 3-12-11-1, “Right to recount of vote or to contest nomination or election of a candidate.” If a candidate does not file on their own behalf, a party chairperson may also petition for a recount. For local offices, the county chair may petition, and for state and federal offices, the state chair may petition. See Sections 3-12-6-1 and 3-12-11-1.

Timing: Petitions must be filed no later than 12 p.m. two weeks after the election. Party chairs are given an additional three days after this date to petition if a candidate fails to file. See Sections 3-12-6-2, “Petition for recount; filing,” and 3-12-11-2, “Filing of verified petition.”

Voter-Initiated Options: 

Voters determine how many/which precincts to recount
Voters may request recounts for initiatives/questions

Any voter who voted at the election in which a public question was on the ballot in their election district may petition for a recount. See Chapter 12, “Recount Procedures for Public Questions,” Section 3-12-12-1, “Voters entitled to recount”: http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title3/ar12/ch12.html The petition must contain signatures from at least 10% of the voters who cast ballots on the question in the election. See Section 3-12-12-4, “Signatures by voters; percentage”: http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title3/ar12/ch12.html#IC3-12-12-4.

Timing: Petitions must be filed no later than 12 p.m. fourteen days after the election. See Section3-12-12-2, “”: http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title3/ar12/ch12.html.

Cost for Candidate-Initiated Recounts: 

Initiator pays set or per jurisdiction fee
Initiator pays deposit or bond before recount
Payer of costs depends on outcome of recount

Initiators must pay a deposit of $100. If more than ten precincts are to be recounted, an additional per precinct deposit is also required. The amount of the per precinct deposit depends on the size of the vote margin between the initiator and the apparent winning candidate. If the vote margin is smaller (not more than 1% of all votes cast for the office), the initiator must pay an additional $10 per precinct. If the vote margin is larger (more than 1% of all votes cast for the office), the initiator must pay an additional $100 per precinct. If the recount alters the outcome of the election, the entire deposit is refunded. See Sections 3-12-6-10, “Petitioner's cash deposit or bond; filing; amounts; cost of recount; unexpended balance,” and 3-12-11-10, “Cash deposit for payment of costs by petitioner.”

Cost for Voter-Initiated Recounts: 

Initiator pays set or per jurisdiction fee
Initiator pays deposit or bond before recount
Payer of costs depends on outcome of recount

Initiators must pay a deposit of $100. If more than ten precincts are to be recounted, an additional per precinct deposit is also required. The amount of the per precinct deposit depends on the size of the vote margin between the affirmative and negative votes on the question. If the vote margin is smaller (not more than 200 votes for local questions and not more than 2000 for statewide questions), the initiator must pay an additional $10 per precinct. If the vote margin is larger (more than 200 votes for local questions and more than 2000 for statewide questions), the initiator must pay an additional $100 per precinct. If the recount alters the outcome of the election, the entire deposit is refunded. See Section 3-12-12-4, “Cash deposit or bond to accompany petition.”: http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title3/ar12/ch12.html#IC3-12-12-4.

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
  

The Indiana Code specifies both that recounts shall be public and that members of the media may attend. It also allows for candidates to appoint a watcher for the recount. However, there is no mention of whether voters petitioning for recounts on public questions may also do so; the law grants this right only to “each candidate affected by the recount.” Watchers have authority to observe but not to challenge ballots. See Section 3-12-6-21, “Recount; place; expeditious completion; watchers; representatives; news media; powers and duties of state recount commission": http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title3/ar12/ch6.html#IC3-12-6-21.

Rules for Determining Voter Intent: 

Statutory guidance provided

Guidelines on voter intent and rules for valid voter marks can be found in Article 12, "Ascertaining Results of Elections," Chapter 1, “Rules for Counting Ballots”: http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title3/ar12/ch1.html.

Audit Laws: 

State has audit laws

Indiana permits limited post-election audits.

See: http://www.ceimn.org/state-audit-laws-searchable-database/states/indiana