Arkansas Recount Laws


The Arkansas Code Annotated (A.C.A) is available at:  See Title 7.

Voting System Used

Paper Ballots (ballot marking devices for all voters)

For more details, visit Verified Voting.

Counting Method

Mix of hand count and retabulation 

For a recount of an election in which paper ballots are used, the county board will recount the ballots in the same manner as the initial count. This will normally be a retabulation of the ballots unless there is a determination by the county board that the voting machine or electronic vote tabulating device may be malfunctioning, in which case it may recount the ballots by any manner prescribed by law. A.C.A. § 7-5-319(d).

Initiating Mechanisms

Election official-initiated

Election Official-Initiated Recounts:

“The election commission may decide to conduct a recount on its own motion, without a request from a candidate. For example, when an advocate for or against a measure requests a recount, the board may, at its discretion conduct the recount. In this instance, the county would bear the cost of the recount because the law requires only candidates for office to pay the cost of recounts.” See the County Board of Election Commissioners Procedures Manual (p. 88).  See also A.C.A. § 7-5-319(b).

Candidate-Initiated Options

Candidate determines how many/which precincts to recount

Any candidate who received votes in the election who may be dissatisfied with the returns from any precinct may obtain a recount in the requested precincts upon the submission of the petition requesting the recount. There are no restrictions regarding the type of election in which a recount may be requested. A.C.A. § 7-5-319(a)(1).

Timing: A.C.A. § 7-5-319, (a)(2) & (a)(3).

Cost for Candidate-Initiated Recounts

Initiator pays deposit or bond before recount
Payer of costs depends on outcome of recount

Prior to the recount, the petitioner pays a deposit that is based on the actual costs of the recount as determined by the county board; however, these costs cannot exceed $0.25 per vote cast in the precincts where the recount is requested, or a total of $2500 for the entire county, whichever is less.  If the recount alters the outcome of the election, the petitioner's deposit is refunded.  A.C.A. § 7-5-319(g) & (h).

Challengers and Observers

Statutes specify that recount must be public
No statutory guidance for recount challengers

No statutory guidance for recount observers

The county board of election commissioners conducts the recount, and these meetings are subject to the public meeting requirements of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.  A.C.A. § 7-4-105(b).

See also the County Board of Election Commissioners Procedures Manual (p19) where it states: “When official business is conducted in any meeting of two (2) or more members of the county board of election commissioners, the meeting must be public and held pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act of 1967…. Public meetings as defined under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act include without limitation…[the] Canvassing and certification of a recount.”

Rules for Determining Voter Intent

Statutory guidance provided

See the summary of rules for determining voter intent in the County Board of Election Commissioners Procedures Manual (pp. 85-86). See also the State Board of Election Commissioners' document, “Rules for Voter Intent.”

State Has Audit Laws

See A.C.A § 7-4-121.

Revision Notes

The voting equipment and counting methods sections were updated 10/23/2022. 

All other information was updated 2/17/2020 using the Arkansas Code Annotated current through all legislation of the 2019 Regular Session (including corrections and edits by the Arkansas Code Revision Commission).

Updates in progress.

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