election recount

Election Recounts 101


It’s not a few hundred votes in Florida like in 2000, but several states may soon start their processes of election recounts. So, what does that mean for your newsroom coverage?

Let’s take a look at recount policies across the states that may see one soon, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.


  • In Georgia, a losing candidate can request a recount if they are within 0.5% of the leading candidate. Georgia’s Secretary of State already announced an audit of the results, which triggers a recount in the presidential race. After the state certifies the results, a losing candidate can also request a machine recount.


  • In Wisconsin, any candidate can request a recount, which must be completed within 13 days of the recount order. However, that candidate can only request a recount once all the counties in the state finish canvassing the vote.


  • In Pennsylvania, to conduct a recount, the Secretary of the Commonwealth has to determine that a candidate lost by “one-half of one percent or less” of the votes cast. See the complete state’s complete directive on recounts here:


  • In Arizona, the automatic recount threshold for races with more than 25,000 votes cast is within 200 votes. Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has already ruled out a presidential election recount.


  • In Nevada, a candidate in any election can request a recount. The deadline to complete the recount is within 10 days of the request.


  • In Michigan, an automatic recount is triggered if the vote is within 2,000 votes. A candidate can also request a recount if they feel they’re “aggrieved” by fraud or mistake. For context, a federal judge ended Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s recount effort in Michigan in 2016 because she had no chance of winning, she wasn’t aggrieved.

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