Utah Recount Laws
This information was updated October, 2022.
Mixed paper ballot and DREs with VVPAT
For more details, visit Verified Voting.
According to the Elections Division of the Office of the Utah Lieutenant Governor, all 29 Utah counties use paper ballots and hold vote-by-mail elections.
Mix of retabulation and electronic review
Recount procedures specify that the election officer shall recount all ballots for that race and that "unopened absentee ballots" be reexamined to ensure compliance with statutory provisions governing voting by absentee ballot. UT Code 20A-4-401(1)(e) and (2)(d).
Section R623-2-4(H) of the Utah Administrative Code provides recount procedures for the retabulation of optical scan ballots.
According to the Elections Division of Utah's Office of the Lieutenant Governor, ballots are generally recounted using the same method of counting as used on election day. For paper ballots, this would normally involve retabulating the ballots by voting machne. For DREs with VVPATs this would normally involve an electronic review that retabulates the results from DRE memory cards. In addition to the post-election audit that is routinely conducted in Utah after the election, there is another audit after the recount involving the hand counting of ballots or journal tapes for at least one voting machine in each county where the recounted race occurred.
Less than or equal to 0.25%
Vote count difference (not percentage-based)
Initiated by request
A close-vote-margin recount in Utah requires a request from voters or candidates. See the candidate-initiated and voter-initiated options below.
A recount in an RCV election is automatically triggered if it meets the requirement in code 20A-4-603(10.)
Close vote margin required
Candidates may file a request for a recount “if the difference between the number of votes cast for a winning candidate in the race and a losing candidate in the race is equal to or less than 0.25% of the total number of votes cast for all candidates in the race, that losing candidate may file a request for a recount.” See UT Code 20A-4-401(1)(b).
Timing: See UT Code 20A-4-401(1)(d)(i) and (d)(ii).
Voters may request recounts for initiatives/questions
For a ballot proposition or a bond proposition, if the proposition passes or fails by a margin that is equal to or less than 0.25% of the total votes cast for or against the proposition, any 10 voters who voted in the election where the proposition was on the ballot may file a request for a recount. UT Code 20A-4-401(2)(a).
“[F]or a ballot proposition or a bond proposition where the total of all votes cast for or against the proposition is 400 or less, if the difference between the number of votes cast for the proposition and the number of votes cast against the proposition is one vote, any 10 voters who voted in the election where the proposition was on the ballot may file a request for a recount….” UT Code 20A-4-401(2)(b).
Timing: UT Code 20A-4-401(2)(a) and (b).
Paid entirely by state or county
Costs incurred for close-vote-margin recounts may not be assessed against the person requesting the recount. See UT Code 20A-4-401(3).
Paid entirely by initiator
Voters requesting a recount for propositions are required to cover all costs associated with the recount. UT Code 20A-4-401(2)(f).
Statutes specify that recounts must be public
Party/candidate or initiator has statutory authority to appoint observers
No statutory guidance for recount challengers
For a recount of a ballot proposition or a bond proposition, "proponents and opponents of the ballot proposition or bond proposition may designate representatives to witness the recount." See UT Code 20A-4-401(2)(e).
Any individual may become a watcher in an election at any time by registering as a watcher with the administering election officer. Watchers may observe recounts. UT Code 20A-3-201(2)(a) and (4)(m).
UT Code 20A-4-303 requires the public opening of ballots and determination of votes during the canvass, and the statute applies this same public procedure to recounts.
According to the Elections Division of Utah's Office of the Lieutenant Governor, recounts are open to the public.
Statutory guidance provided
See UT Code 20A-4-105 for the standards for evaluating voter's ballot choices. See also the Utah Administrative Code, R623-2, "Uniform Ballot Counting Standards."
For instant runoff elections, see UT Code 20A-4-603(3).
This information was updated October, 2022 using the Utah Code that includes amendments to election law enacted by Chapter 187 of the 2018 General Session.