Recounts and challenges are regular features of the voting process with clearly defined rules.
State laws determine how and when post-election recounts can proceed. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia provide for automatic recounts, based on the vote margin between the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes. Forty-three states and the District of Columbia permit candidates or citizens to petition for a recount, but in most of these states, the petitioner is responsible for much of the expense of conducting the recount, unless the recount reverses the result of the election. Currently, automatic recount margins across the U.S. vary between 0% (tie) and 1% of all votes cast. The median recount threshold is 0.5% of all votes cast.
BPC’s Task Force on Elections recommends that all states provide for a government-funded automatic recount that takes account of the margin between candidates and the number of votes cast.
After Election Day, election officials will proceed with counting and certifying the vote as required by their state’s laws and in accordance with any court rulings.
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