Arizona Recount Laws

This information was updated in August 25th, 2018.

Voting System Used: 

Mixed paper ballot and DREs with VVPAT

For more details, visit Verified Voting.

Counting Method : 

Required hand count of a sample of ballots in addition to other counting methods
Mix of hand count and retabulation

In a state primary, state general or state special election ballots from the race to be recounted will be retabulated.   2017 Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 16-664.

However, for close vote margin recounts, 5% of the precincts for the recounted race   shall be randomly selected for a hand count audit of both paper ballots and VVPATs. If the results from the hand count differ from the electronic review and/or the retabulation, and if that difference falls outside a set margin, an expanded number of votes will be hand counted. If the difference persists, the count will eventually be expanded to the entire jurisdiction for the office being recounted. A.R.S. § 16-663 (B).

Initiating Mechanisms: 

Close vote margin

Close Vote Margin Options: 

Less than or equal to 0.1%
Vote count difference (not percentage-based)
Varies by election contest
Initiated automatically

A recount must be performed following a general, primary, or special election if the margin of votes between the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes for a particular office, or the votes cast for and against a ballot measure, are equal to the lesser of:

-1/10 of 1% or less of the total number of votes cast for the top two candidates or the ballot measure in question; or
·One of the following margins:
    -200 votes for statewide or federal office where the total number of votes cast exceeded 25,000;
    -200 votes for a ballot measure;
    -50 votes for statewide or federal office where the total number of votes cast was 25,000 or less;
    -50 votes for legislative office; or
    -10 votes for county, city or town office.  A.R.S. § 16-661 (A).

Close-vote-margin recounts must be ordered by the appropriate court after election officials certify to the court the facts requiring the recount.  A.R.S. § 16-662.

Timing: A.R.S. § 16-663.  “The superior court …shall forthwith make and enter an order requiring a recount of the votes….” 

Candidate-Initiated Options : 


There are no provisions for candidate-initiated recounts in Arizona law.

Voter-Initiated Options: 


There are no provisions for voter-initiated recounts in Arizona law.

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

According to the Office of the Arizona Secretary of State, the counting center rules that apply to hand count audits also apply to those hand counts that occur after every close-vote-margin recount.

The county chairman of each political party shall designate and provide the required number of election board members who shall perform the hand count under the supervision of the county officer in charge of elections. A.R.S. § 16-602(B)(7).  If the election board members are unable to reach a unanimous decision regarding a voter’s intent, the officer in charge of elections must make the final determination in regards to the voter’s intent. Arizona Elections Procedures Manual page 233.

According to A.R.S. § 16-621(A);  All proceedings at the counting center shall be …. under the observation of representatives of each political party and the public.  

Rules for Determining Voter Intent: 

Statutory guidance provided

See the Arizona Elections Procedures Manual page 233.

State Has Audit Laws: 
Revision Notes: 

Links were reviewed for currency, July 2020.