Utah Recount Laws

This information was updated in June 2014 using a version of the Utah Code (UC) that included changes made in the 2014 general legislative session.

Voting System Used: 

DREs with VVPAT

For more details, visit Verified Voting.

Counting Method: 

No statutory guidance provided for counting method

Utah uses only direct recording electronic machines (DREs) with a voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT). However, Utah's statutes do not specify whether the VVPATs shall be recounted by hand or reviewed electronically. Rather, they say simply that the appropriate election official shall “recount all ballots cast for that office.” As Utah law defines a “ballot” as the storage medium, whether paper, mechanical, or electronic, upon which a voter records the voter's votes,” this instruction to “recount all ballots” cannot be taken to mean simply that the VVPATs are counted by hand. See UC 20A-4-401 (1)(d)(ii), 20A-4-4-1(2)(d)(ii) and 20A-1-102(3)(a) and (2)(b).

Recount procedures for absentee ballots require "unopened absentee ballots" to be reexamined to ensure compliance with statutory provisions governing voting by absentee ballot. UC 20A-4-401(1)(d)(iii) and (2)(d)(iii).

We are  unable to find administrative rules addressing the procedure for recounting or retabulating in Utah. If you know of relevant laws or rules for this state on this topic, please email info@ceimn.org.

Initiating Mechanism: 

Close-vote margin
Candidate-initiated
Voter-initiated

A close-vote-margin recount in Utah require a request from voters or candidates.  See the candidate-initated and voter-iniated options below.

Close Vote Margin: 

Close-vote margin
Less than or equal to 0.25%
Vote count difference (not percentage-based)

A close-vote-margin recount in Utah requires a request from voters or candidates.  See the candidate-initiated and voter-initiated options below.

Candidate-Initiated Options: 

Close vote margin required

Candidates may file a request for a recount “if the difference between the number of votes cast for a winning candidate in the race and a losing candidate in the race is equal to or less than .25% of the total number of votes cast for all candidates in the race, that losing candidate may file a request for a recount.” See UC 20A-4-401(1)(a).

“For a race between candidates where the total of all votes cast in the race is 400 or less, if the difference between the number of votes cast for a winning candidate in the race and a losing candidate in the race is one vote, that losing candidate may file a request for a recount.” See UC 20A-4-401(1)(b). 

Timing: See UC 20A-4-401(1)(a)(i) and 20A-4-401(1)(a)(ii).

Voter-Initiated Options: 

Close-vote-margin required
Voters may request recounts for initiatives/questions

For a ballot proposition or a bond proposition, if the proposition passes or fails by a margin that is equal to or less than .25% of the total votes cast for or against the proposition, any 10 voters who voted in the election where the proposition was on the ballot may file a request for a recount….” See UC 20A-4-401(2)(a).

“[F]or a ballot proposition or a bond proposition where the total of all votes cast for or against the proposition is 400 or less, if the difference between the number of votes cast for the proposition and the number of votes cast against the proposition is one vote, any 10 voters who voted in the election where the proposition was on the ballot may file a request for a recount….”  See UC 20A-4-401(2)(b).

Timing: See UC 20A-4-401(2)(a) and (b).

Cost for Candidate-Initiated Recounts: 

Paid entirely by state or county

Candidates requesting a recount are not liable for any of the costs associated with the recount. See UC 20A-4-401(3).

Cost for Voter-Initiated Recounts: 

Paid entirely by initiator

Voters requesting a recount for propositions are required to cover all costs associated with the recount. UC 20A-4-401(2)(f).

Challengers and Observers: 

Party/candidate or initiator has statutory authority to appoint observers
No statutory guidance for recount challengers

For a recount of a ballot proposition or a bond proposition, "proponents and opponents of the ballot proposition or bond proposition may designate representatives to witness the recount." See US 20A-4-401(2)(e).

We found no requirement that recounts in Utah must be made public. The provisions regarding counting, however, suggest that in fact both counting and recounting are closed to the public. UC 20A-4-102(7) states that “Only election judges and counting poll watchers may be present at the place where counting is conducted until the count is completed.” If you know of additional rules or statutes regarding public participation in recounts in Utah, please email info@ceimn.org.

Rules for Determining Voter Intent: 

Statutory guidance provided

See UC 20A-4-105 for the standards for evaluating voter's ballot choices. The Lieutenant Governor's Office has also issued rules on ballot counting standards. See Utah Administrative Code, R623-2, "Uniform Ballot Counting Standards."

Audit Laws: 

State has audit laws

While not mentioned in the Utah Code, the state's Lieutenant Governor has had an audit requirement since October of 2006.

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