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 August 3, 2020. 

Voting System Used

Mixed paper ballot and DREs with and without VVPAT  (hand marked paper ballots, BMDs and DREs with and without VVPAT)

For more details, visit Verified Voting.

Counting Method

Mix of hand count, retabulation and electronic review

Kansas uses a variety of voting systems, and this results in a mixture of counting methods which include hand recounting, machine retabulation, and electronic review.  The Kansas Election Standards state that: “A recount means simply repeating the process that produced the original election results in order to determine if the ballots were counted and the totals tabulated correctly.” See Kansas Elections Standards, Chap. III, p. 23.  

In general, the same counting method used during the initial canvass is to be used again, unless the recount petitioner requests that a hand count be conducted in precincts where ballots were originally counted by optical scan systems.  Election officials are also allowed to direct that the recount be done by hand, if “for any reason it becomes impracticable to count all or a part of the ballots with tabulation equipment.” 2019 Kansas Statutes (KS Stat) §§ 25-4412, 25-4413 & 25-3107.

However, close-vote-margin recounts are only done by using the method by which the ballots were originally counted.  KS Stat § 25-3107(d)(2).

Some jurisdictions in Kansas use direct-recording electronic machines (DREs) without a voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT), which only allows an electronic review to be conducted for these votes by repeating the process that produced the original election results. This process consists of reprinting the report from the machine. KS Stat § 25-4412 & 25-4413.

Initiating Mechanisms

Election official-initiated
Close-vote margin
Candidate-initiated
Voter-initiated

Election Official-Initiated Recounts:
The county board of canvassers may initiate a recount if a majority of its members “determine that there are manifest errors appearing on the face of the poll books of any election board, which might make a difference in the result of any election....” KS Stat § 25-3107(b).

Timing: KS Stat § 25-3107(b).

Close Vote Margin Options

Less than or equal to 0.5%
Inititated by request.

If a recount is requested in a national or state general election decided by a margin of 0.5% or less, the state reimburses the counties for the cost of the recount if it is performed using the method by which the ballots were counted originally. This provision does not apply to elections for judicial offices. See the Kansas Election Standards, Chap. III, p.25, and KS Stat § 25-3107(d)(2).

Timing: KS Stat § 25-3107.

Candidate-Initiated Options

Candidate determines how many/which precincts to recount

Any candidate may request a “recount of the ballots cast in all or in only specified voting areas for the office for which such person is a candidate….” KS Stat § 25-3107(b) & (c).

Timing: KS Stat § 25-3107(b).

Voter-Initiated Options

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

If any registered voter who voted on a ballot question requests a “recount in all or only specified voting areas to determine the result of the election, the county board of canvassers shall cause a special election board appointed by the county election officer to meet…and recount the ballots….”  KS Stat § 25-3107(b).

Timing: KS Stat § 25-3107(b), (c) & (d).

Cost for Candidate-Initiated Recounts

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

Candidates who are defeated in a state or national general election decided by 0.5% or less of the total number of votes cast for their office are not required to pay the costs of the recounts. All other candidates must post bond to cover all costs incurred by the counties for a recount. However, if the recount alters the outcome of the election, no action is taken on this bond, and the counties bear the cost of the recount. KS Stat § 25-3107(b) & (c)(2).  See also the Kansas Election Standards, Chap. III, p. 24.

Cost for Voter-Initiated Recounts

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

The voter initiating a ballot measure recount must post bond to cover all costs incurred by the county for the recount. However, if the recount alters the outcome of the election, no action is taken on this bond, and the counties bear the cost of the recount. KS Stat § 25-3107.   See also the Kansas Election Standards, Chap. III, p. 24.

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

Recounts are public meetings. KS Stat § 75-4317 and 75-4317a.

“Authorized poll agents appointed for the election must be allowed to attend, although no one who is not a member of the special recount board or the county election officer or office staff may handle ballots or participate in conducting the recount.”  Kansas Election Standards, Chap. III, p. 24.

Poll agents may include the county or state party chairperson, and the candidate or their appointed representatives. The full list of those who may serve as poll agents can be found in KS Stat § 25-3005a.

Rules for Determining Voter Intent

Statutory guidance provided

See the Kansas Election Standards, Chap. III, Section h, “Voter Intent,” pp. 13-17. See also KS Stat § 25-3002

State Has Audit Laws
Yes

See KS Stat § 25-3009 and Kansas Administrative Regulation 7-47-1.

Revision Notes

This information was updated 8/3/2020 using the 2019 Kansas Statutes and the current Kansas Administrative Regulations (accessed here on 8/3/2020).