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 8/1/2018. 

Voting System Used

Paper ballot (optical scanners)

For more details, visit Verified Voting.

Counting Method

Mix of hand count 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, (CT Gen Stat), Title 9, Chapter 148, Section 9-311, Subsection (b).

Counting methods for machine retabulations and hand counted ballots are described on pages 8-11 of the Recanvass Procedure Manual.  See also the Regulations of the Connecticut Agencies, 9-242a-28.

The composition of the team of Recanvass Officials that conduct the counting is described on page 5 of the Recanvass Procedure Manual.

Initiating Mechanisms

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.  CT Gen Stat § 9-311 & 9-381a.  

Timing: The moderator may initiate a recanvass any time within three days after the election. Recanvass officials must meet by the fifth business day after the election to begin the recanvass. CT Gen Stat § 9-311(a).

Close Vote Margin Options

Less than or equal to 0.5%
Vote count difference (not percentage-based)
Varies by election contest
Initiated automatically

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."  Note that the first initiating mechanism has two margins described (less than 0.5% and less than two thousand votes). The election results must fall within both margins to qualify for a recanvass.  The second initiating mechanism has only a single margin (less than twenty votes). CT Gen Stat § 9-311a.

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.” CT Gen Stat § 9-445.

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. CT Gen Stat § 9-311a. Close vote margin recanvasses are also available for ballot questions. CT Gen Stat § 9-370a

TimingCT Gen Stat § 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

“All recanvassing procedures shall be open to public observation.” CT Gen Stat § 9-311(b)

Each chairman of the town committee of each political party which nominated candidates for the election” may send representatives to the recanvass.  Such representatives are only allowed to observe the recanvass, but they may present evidence of any observed irregularities in a court contest related to the election. CT Gen Stat § 9-311(a).

See the guidance for candidates, appointed observers, and the public on page 12 of the Recanvass Procedure Manual.

Rules for Determining Voter Intent

While voter intent is not defined in Connecticut statute, pages 30-31 of the Recanvass Procedure Manual provides some guidance on determining voter intent.

State Has Audit Laws
Yes
Revision Notes

Links were reviewed for currency, August 2020.

This information was updated 8/1/2018 using the General Statutes of Connecticut revised to January 1, 2017 and the Supplement to General Statutes revised to January 1, 2018.