Recount Guidelines

A recount is conducted by the elections official for the purpose of verifying the number of votes counted for any office or measure in an election. California Elections Code chapter 23, Sections 15620 through 15634 govern voter requested recounts.

Notice of recount


A notice stating the date and place of the recount will be posted by the elections official at least one day prior to the recount and the following persons will be notified in person or by any federally regulated overnight mail service: (E.C. 15628)
  • All candidates for the office being recounted.
  • Authorized representatives for presidential candidates, if the race for presidential delegates is to be recounted.
  • Proponents of any initiative or referendum or persons filing ballot arguments for or against any initiative, referendum or measure to be recounted.
  • Secretary of State if the recount is for candidates for any state or federal office, delegates to a national convention, or any state measure.

Process of Recount


  • The recount is open to the public. (E.C. 15629)
  • Recount must start no later than seven (7) calendar days following the receipt of the request and shall be continued daily, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays excepted, for not less than six hours each day until completed. (E.C. 15626)
  • No results or running tallies will be released to observers or the media during the recount. Observers may keep their own notes if they wish; however, any numbers they release are not official if they have not been confirmed by the elections official.

Personnel Requirements


A manual recount must be conducted under the supervision of the elections official by recount boards, consisting of four voters of the county, appointed by the elections official. Recount board members are paid the same as precinct board clerks (not inspectors). (E.C. 15625)

All actual costs of the recount are directly recoverable from the party requesting the recount and may include, but are not limited to: supervision, security guards, personnel used to review relevant material, computer personnel and administrative costs.

Result of Recount


The results of a recount are declared null and void unless every vote in which the contest appeared is recounted. (E.C. 15632) Upon completion of a recount, if a different candidate, slate of electors, or position on a measure receives a plurality of votes, the results of the official canvass will be changed and the election results re-certified. (E.C. 15632)

A copy of the results of any recount conducted shall be posted conspicuously in the office of the elections official. (E.C. 15633)


Automatic Manual Recount


By law, a random sample of ballots from every election must be recounted manually to verify the computer count. A minimum of all votes cast in 1% of the precincts is included in this process. This manual recount must be completed before the election is certified. The Automatic Manual Recount is open to the public. (E.C. 15360)‚Äč