Kansas Recount Laws

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).