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 Oct. 16, 2018. 

Voting System Used

DREs without VVPAT

For more details, visit Verified Voting.

Counting Method

Mix of hand count, retabulation and electronic review

The statutes only allow recounts for absentee by mail and early voting ballots.  The absentee by mail ballots will be counted by hand or scanning equipment, and the DRE early voting ballots will be counted electronically, unless paper ballots were used for early voting and in such case, the ballots shall be recounted by hand.  See the Louisiana Revised Statutes (LA Rev. Stat.) 18:1313(J)(2)(a)(i) and (ii).

Louisiana uses DREs without VVPATs for its election day, polling place voting equipment.  Candidates or their representatives may submit a written request to reopen DREs for a “reinspection” (an electronic review) of the election returns.  LA Rev. Stat. 18:573(A)(3).

Initiating Mechanisms

Candidate-initiated
Voter-initiated

Candidate-Initiated Options

Close-vote margin required​
Specific ballot category
Contested election​

If the number of absentee by mail and early voting ballots cast for all candidates for an office could make
a difference in the outcome of the election for such office, a candidate may file a written request for a
recount. LA Rev. Stat. 18:1313(J)(2)(a)(i).

Candidates may file a written request for a “reinspection” (an electronic review) of the polling place DRE
results. LA Rev. Stat. 18:573(A)(3).

Candidates may also seek a recount as part of an election contest in the courts.  "Prior to the trail of an election contest, a party to the suit by ex parte motion may seek a recount of the absentee by mail and early voting ballots if he alleges that there is an error in the the counting of the absentee by mail and early voting ballots which would have changed the outcome of the election."  LA Rev. Stat. 18:1451.

Timing: LA Rev. Stat. 18:1313(J)(2)(b), 18:573(A)(3) and 18:1453(A).

Voter-Initiated Options

Close vote margin required (specific ballot category)
Voters may request recounts for initiatives/questions

If the number of absentee by mail and early voting ballots cast for and against a ballot measure could
make a difference in the outcome of the election, a person who voted in the ballot measure election may
file a written request for a recount. LA Rev. Stat. 18:1313(J)(2)(a)(ii).

Timing: LA Rev. Stat. 18:1313(J)(2)(b).

Cost for Candidate-Initiated Recounts

Paid entirely by initiator
Payer of costs depends on outcome of recount

The candidate requesting the recount shall be responsible for all reasonable costs associated with the
recount. If the recount changes the outcome of the election, the costs paid by the candidate shall be
refunded. LA Rev. Stat. 18:1313(J)(d)(i) and (ii). See also the Election Expense Manual, pp. 11-13.

For recounts conducted prior to the trial of an election contest, “if the court determines that the original
count of the absentee by mail and early voting ballots was correct or that the error would not have
changed the result of the election, the cost of recounting shall be assessed against the party who
demanded the recount. If the court determines that an error was made in the original count of the
absentee by mail and early voting ballots that changed the result of the election, the cost of recounting
the absentee by mail and early voting ballots shall not be assessed against any party.” LA Rev. Stat.18:1452.

For reinspections of DREs, the “candidate requesting the reinspection shall be responsible for all
reasonable costs associated with such reinspection….” LA Rev. Stat. 18:573(A)(3).

Cost for Voter-Initiated Recounts

Paid entirely by initiator
Payer of costs depends on outcome of recount

In a ballot measure election, the voter requesting the recount shall be responsible for all reasonable costs
associated with the recount. If the recount changes the outcome of the election, the costs paid by the
voter will be refunded. LA Rev. Stat. 18:1313(J)(2)(d)(i) and (2)(d)(ii). See also the Election Expense
Manual
, pp. 11-13.

For recounts conducted prior to the trial of an election contest, “if the court determines that the original
count of the absentee by mail and early voting ballots was correct or that the error would not have
changed the result of the election, the cost of recounting shall be assessed against the party who
demanded the recount. If the court determines that an error was made in the original count of the
absentee by mail and early voting ballots that changed the result of the election, the cost of recounting
the absentee by mail and early voting ballots shall not be assessed against any party.” LA Rev. Stat. 18:1452.

Challengers and Observers

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

Although the statutes do not specify that recounts must be public, in practice, recounts and reinspections
are open to the public. See the Parish Board Of Election Supervisor’s Handbook, Section 4.2: "Statutory
Public Meetings Open to the General Public,” pp 3-4.

For recounts conducted prior to the trial of an election contest, “[t]he trial judge shall give notice of the
time and place of the recount to all interested parties. The parties, or their representatives, may be
present at the recount, but the recount shall not be an adversary proceeding.” LA Rev. Stat. 18:1453(B).

Rules for Determining Voter Intent

No statutory guidance provided

State Has Audit Laws
No
Revision Notes

This information was updated October 16, 2018 using Title 18 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes current through the 2017 Second Extraordinary Session.