All about recalculation

“I’m demanding a recount!” All the headlines spread during the 2000 presidential election between Al Gore and George W. Bush. Twenty years later, President Trump and his administration made the same demand following Joe Biden’s official call as the country’s elected president. How often do recalculations occur? Will they be able to change the election results? Is the recount law the same in every state? Today we dive into recounts and see how much (or how little) they affect the final outcome of the election.

Support for Al Gore and George W. Bush before the Supreme Court in 2000

Before recounting becomes an option, it is a good starting point to understand the basic steps of vote counting which is the same process in every state. The first step is to verify the eligibility of voters by requiring election officials in the mail-in ballot or when checking voters at polling stations. Once all ballots have been cast, they are counted and the unofficial results are announced to the public. The election results then go through the promotion and certification process. Canvassing is how state and local officials ensure the legitimacy of the ballot. Canvassing results are used when election officials certify the final election results.

What is a recalculation?

A recount is a formal process where votes cast in an election are recounted to ensure the accuracy of the final result. Election recounts can take place from local to state presidential level. In the case of presidential elections, recounts are required at the state level.

Why and how will the recalculation take place?

In the event of a potential administrative error, election fraud or close competition, recounts may occur automatically or at the request of the voter or candidate (usually the loser).

The U.S. election administration has been reported as a low-funding program that could result in a lack of resources, equipment errors, and administrative errors during lengthy processing. Following the COVID-19 epidemic, election officials appealed to Congress for help. States received $ 400 million in funding that was significant enough to expand voting options and prepare for unprecedented changes in electoral processes. Despite doubts about election security, the Brennan Center for Justice reports that voter fraud is very rare and that US elections have become more secure in the last 4 years. When it comes to race closures, states need a close vote gap – either percentage or number of votes – to begin recounts.

Through Getty Images

Is the recount law different from state to state?

They must! As of November 2020, Eighteen states There is at least one law that triggers an automatic recount if the results are in the nearest voting interval. Five states There is a law that will require an automatic recount of events when there is a tie Four states Any inconsistencies require automatic recalculation.

For the requested recount, Forty-three states There are laws, including in Washington DC, that allow losing candidates, voters, or other parties involved to apply for a recount. Some states already allow requested recounts within a specified interval of votes, and others allow requested recounts only for the ballot system and not for the candidate race.

Is the calculation simple?

Not as much as you might think. FairVote conducted a survey of 4,687 state-wide general elections between 2000-2015. There were only 27 state recounts and 15 (only 58% of statewide elections!) Were considered “international.” FairVote found the same thing in sub-categories in statewide elections, including recounts of only 3 out of 808 elections for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and treasurer’s office. The results are less likely to be reversed than recounts. Of the 15 compliance recalculations in the survey, only 3 reversals were reported.

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All recounts were originally published on Voterly on Medium, where people continue the conversation by highlighting the story and responding.

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