Connecticut Recount Laws

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: 
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.