Arizona Recount Laws

This information was updated 11/3/2022.

Voting System Used

Paper ballot (hand marked paper ballots and BMDs)

For more details, visit Verified Voting.


Counting Method

Required hand count of a sample of ballots in addition to other counting methods
Mix of hand count and retabulation

In a state primary, state general or state special elections, ballots from the race to be recounted will be retabulated.   Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 16-664.

See the hand count provisions under Close Vote Margin Options below. 

Initiating Mechanisms

Close vote margin

Close Vote Margin Options

Less than or equal to 0.5%
Initiated automatically

“A recount of the vote is required when the canvass of returns in a primary or general election shows that the margin between the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes for a particular office, or between the number of votes cast for and against initiated or referred measures or proposals to amend the Constitution of Arizona, is less than or equal to one-half of one percent of the number of votes cast for both such candidates or on such measures or proposals.” A.R.S. § 16-661(A).

“When the court orders a recount of votes which were cast and tabulated on electronic voting equipment, such recount shall be pursuant to section 16-664.  On completion of the recount, and for legislative, statewide and federal candidate races only, the county chairmen of the political parties entitled to continued representation on the ballot or the chairman's designee shall select at random without the use of a computer five per cent of the precincts for the recounted race for a hand count, and if the results of that hand count when compared to the electronic tabulation of that same race are less than the designated margins calculated pursuant to section 16-602, the recount is complete and the electronic tabulation is the official result.  If the hand count results in a difference that is equal to or greater than the designated margin for that race, the procedure established in section 16-602, subsections C, D, E and F applies.” A.R.S. § 16-663(B).

Timing: A.R.S. § 16-663(A).  “The superior court …shall forthwith make and enter an order requiring a recount of the votes….” 

Candidate-Initiated Options


There are no provisions for candidate-initiated recounts in Arizona law.

Voter-Initiated Options


There are no provisions for voter-initiated recounts in Arizona law.

Challengers and Observers

Statutes specify that recount must be public
Party/candidate or initiator has statutory authority to appoint observers
No statutory guidance for recount challengers

According to the Office of the Arizona Secretary of State, the counting center rules that apply to hand count audits also apply to those hand counts that occur after every close-vote-margin recount.

The county chairman of each political party shall designate and provide the required number of election board members who shall perform the hand count under the supervision of the county officer in charge of elections. A.R.S. § 16-602(B)(7).  If the election board members are unable to reach a unanimous decision regarding a voter’s intent, the officer in charge of elections must make the final determination in regards to the voter’s intent. Arizona Elections Procedures Manual, page 223.

According to A.R.S. § 16-621(A),  "All proceedings at the counting center shall be …. under the observation of representatives of each political party and the public."  

Rules for Determining Voter Intent

Statutory guidance provided

See the Arizona Elections Procedures Manual, page 233.

State Has Audit Laws

See the audit law information at Verified Voting

Revision Notes

This information was updated 11/3/2022 using the Arizona Revised Statutes, including the revised sections from the 55th Legislature (2021-2022), 2nd Regular Session. 


Source URL: