Voting System Used

 This search field describes the various methods and equipment used by voters to cast their votes in each state. This category focuses only on the primary and accessible voting equipment used, and does not include any variations that may exist for absentee or provisional ballots. For most states, absentee ballots are hand-counted paper ballots only. See the individual search terms for further clarifications.

Counting Method

This search field describes the methods by which votes are recounted. This category exists separately from Voting System Used, for while two states may both use paper ballots, one may hand count all ballots while another may feed all ballots into an automatic tabulator. Unless otherwise noted, the counting method applies to votes cast on the primary and accessible voting equipment and not to how absentee and provisional ballots are counted. See the individual search terms for further clarifications. Counting method chosen by election official – This search term, for the Counting Method search field, indicates that state law allows election officials discretion when performing a recount as to the counting method to be used. The election official responsible for choosing the counting method varies by state.

Close Vote Margin Options

This search field captures the different requirements used by states to determine if the difference in votes received by competing candidates or by opposing positions on a ballot measure is small enough to automatically initiate a recount. The search options include both percentages (in which the vote margin between candidates is divided by a given number of votes, such as the total votes cast for an office) as well as vote count differences (in which a set number of votes, rather than a percentage, is given as the requirement). See "Less than or equal to X%" below for more details.

Initiating Mechanism

This search field describes both persons (candidates, voters, election officials, courts) and circumstances (close vote margins, or audit results mandating a recount) that may trigger a recount to occur after the initial counting of votes. See the individual search terms for further clarifications.

Audit Laws Details

This search field shows those states that have in place laws regarding not just recounts but also post-election audits. While only two states (Hawaii and Mississippi) lack recount laws, many more states lack laws regarding post-election audits.

Candidate-Initiated Options

This search field describes a number of notable characteristics that shape the candidate-initiated recount process differently in each state. These include both limitations that a state may set (some states allow candidates to request a recount only if there is a particular close vote margin, or only if they are running for a particular office) and privileges that a state may grant (such as allowing party officials to request a recount if the candidate does not).

Cost for Candidate-Initiated Recounts

These search fields describe the various means by which states obtain funds to pay for a recount initiated by a candidate or voter(s). This search field exists only for candidate- and voter-initiated recounts, as these are the only initiating mechanisms for which states charge the cost to a private individual, rather than paying the cost from local or state public funds. See the individual search terms for further clarifications.

Cost for Voter-Initiated Recounts

These search fields describe the various means by which states obtain funds to pay for a recount initiated by a candidate or voter(s). This search field exists only for candidate- and voter-initiated recounts, as these are the only initiating mechanisms for which states charge the cost to a private individual, rather than paying the cost from local or state public funds. See the individual search terms for further clarifications.

Challengers and Observers

 This search field describes the different ways in which states provide guidance for the public to participate as observers and challengers in the recount process. See the individual search terms for further clarifications.

Rules for Determining Voter Intent

This search field captures whether state law (including administrative rules and codes in addition to state statutes) provides any guidance and who has the authority to establish definitions of voter intent. While some states provide definitions and guidance for how voter intent is determined in statute, others use the statutes to delegate authority to an office such as the Secretary of State or State Election Board; other states neither delegate authority nor provide guidance (whether general or detailed) as to how voter intent should be determined. See the individual search terms for further clarifications.

Close Vote Margin

Generally, a “close vote margin” is when the margin of votes between two candidates or two answers on a ballot question is quite small, or close. What constitutes “close” varies by state, as does the actual method for calculating this margin; please see the Close Vote Margin section on each state profile for details both on the specific margin set and the method used to calculate the margin. We use the term in several places in the recount database:

  1. The Close Vote Margin search field captures the different requirements used by states to determine if the difference in votes received by competing candidates or answers on a ballot measure is small enough to warrant a recount. The search options include both percentages (in which the vote margin between candidates is divided by a given number of votes, such as the total votes cast for an office) as well as vote count differences (in which a set number of votes, rather than a percentage, is given as the requirement). Please note that the percentage options indicate the highest vote margin that will initiate a recount in a given state. See “Less than or equal to X%” for more details.
  2. Close vote margin as a search term for the Initiating Mechanisms search field is used to describe any state that has laws requiring that a recount take place if the difference in votes received by competing candidates or answers on a measure is small enough that it falls within a pre-established margin. (The actual language used by states to describe this type of recount varies greatly, but they are often referred to as “automatic” or “mandatory” recounts.)

Recounts initiated by a close vote margin differ from those recounts that are described as a candidate - or voter-initiated with a close vote margin required. For the latter, a voter or candidate must take action in order for a recount to begin, though the law limits their ability to request a recount to those times when there is a close vote margin. For the former, election officials are legally bound to begin recount proceedings regardless of the actions of candidates or voters. The term is also used more generally throughout the recount guide any time a small vote margin somehow comes into play for a recount (for instance, a state may require that a different counting method be used if the election results fall within a specified close vote margin). It is important to note that different methods are used from state to state to calculate the vote margin. Please see the Close Vote Margin section of each state profile for details.

Voter-Initiated Options

This search field describes the characteristics that shape the voter-initiated recount process in each state. These include both limitations a state may set (some states allow voters to request a recount only if there is a particular close vote margin) and privileges a state may grant (such as allowing voters to request recounts for offices as well as ballot measures). See the individual search terms for further clarifications.

Initiating Mechanisms

This search field describes both persons (candidates, voters, election officials, courts) and circumstances (close vote margins, or audit results mandating a recount) that may trigger a recount to occur after the initial counting of votes. See the individual search terms for further clarifications.

This information was updated 2/17/2020. 

The Arkansas Code Annotated (A.C.A) is available at: http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/arcode/Default.asp.  See Title 7.

Voting System Used

Paper Ballots (hand marked paper ballots or ballot marking devices)

For more details, visit Verified Voting.

Counting Method

Mix of hand count, retabulation and electronic review

For a recount of an election in which paper ballots are used, the county board will recount the ballots in the same manner as the initial count. This will normally be a retabulation of the ballots unless there is a determination by the county board that the voting machine or electronic vote tabulating device may be malfunctioning, in which case it may recount the ballots by any manner prescribed by law. A.C.A. § 7-5-319(d).

For any recount of an election in which ballots are cast using a DRE with a voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT), votes may be recounted by manually summing the vote totals on the VVPAT for each candidate involved in the recount or by hand counting the votes for each candidate involved in the recount using the VVPAT.  A.C.A. § 7-5-319(c)(2).

For DREs without a VVPAT, the paper record produced by the machine for the manual audit shall be the official ballot to be recounted. A.C.A. § 7-5-319(c)(4). The paper record produced for the manual audit is a paper reproduction of the audit log, which is “an electronically stored record of events and ballot images.” A.C.A. § 7-1-101(3).  In the absence of a VVPAT a hand recount of the votes cannot be conducted, and only a review of the electronically tabulated results is possible.

Initiating Mechanisms

Candidate-initiated
Election official-initiated
 

Election Official-Initiated Recounts:

“The election commission may decide to conduct a recount on its own motion, without a request from a candidate. For example, when an advocate for or against a measure requests a recount, the board may, at its discretion conduct the recount. In this instance, the county would bear the cost of the recount because the law requires only candidates for office to pay the cost of recounts.” See the County Board of Election Commissioners Procedures Manual (p. 88).  See also A.C.A. § 7-5-319(b).

Candidate-Initiated Options

Candidate determines how many/which precincts to recount

Any candidate who received votes in the election who may be dissatisfied with the returns from any precinct may obtain a recount in the requested precincts upon the submission of the petition requesting the recount. There are no restrictions regarding the type of election in which a recount may be requested. A.C.A. § 7-5-319(a)(1).

Timing: A.C.A. § 7-5-319, (a)(2) & (a)(3).

Cost for Candidate-Initiated Recounts

Initiator pays deposit or bond before recount
Payer of costs depends on outcome of recount

Prior to the recount, the petitioner pays a deposit that is based on the actual costs of the recount as determined by the county board; however, these costs cannot exceed $0.25 per vote cast in the precincts where the recount is requested, or a total of $2500 for the entire county, whichever is less.  If the recount alters the outcome of the election, the petitioner's deposit is refunded.  A.C.A. § 7-5-319(g) & (h).

Challengers and Observers

Statutes specify that recount must be public
No statutory guidance for recount challengers

No statutory guidance for recount observers

The county board of election commissioners conducts the recount, and these meetings are subject to the public meeting requirements of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.  A.C.A. § 7-4-105(b).

See also the County Board of Election Commissioners Procedures Manual (p19) where it states: “When official business is conducted in any meeting of two (2) or more members of the county board of election commissioners, the meeting must be public and held pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act of 1967…. Public meetings as defined under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act include without limitation…[the] Canvassing and certification of a recount.”

Rules for Determining Voter Intent

Statutory guidance provided

See the summary of rules for determining voter intent in the County Board of Election Commissioners Procedures Manual (pp. 85-86). See also the State Board of Election Commissioners' document, “Rules for Voter Intent.”

State Has Audit Laws
Yes

See A.C.A § 7-4-121.

Revision Notes

This information was updated 2/17/2020 using the Arkansas Code Annotated current through all legislation of the 2019 Regular Session (including corrections and edits by the Arkansas Code Revision Commission).