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 in April, 2018.

Voting System Used

Mixed paper ballot and DREs without VVPAT

For more details, visit Verified Voting.

Counting Method

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

Any initiator may request that; "ballot cards in specified precincts that used a ballot card voting system be counted manually." 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 Mechanisms

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.” 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 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,” 3-12-12-9 “Order of recount” and 3-12-12-11, Recount Commission Membership.

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.” The second, Chapter 11, is “Recount and Contest Procedures for Presidential Primary Elections and Nomination for and Election to Federal, State, and Legislative Offices.” 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.” 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.”

Timing: Petitions must be filed no later than 12 p.m. fourteen days after the election. See Section3-12-12-2.

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 3-12-12-5, "Cash deposit or bond to accompany petition."

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"

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.”

State Has Audit Laws
Yes