By Monideepa Talukdar and Rob Richie
Published July 30th 2007
This report takes an in-depth look at election recount outcomes and practices in the United States, using data from statewide elections held between 1980 and 2006. The purpose is to quantify various aspects of the process, such as the frequency of recounts, vote differences involved, and recount outcomes, and analyze how these figures vary with the size of the electorate and recount methodology.
The major findings are as follows:
- Historically speaking, recounts are a very rare occurrence.
- Recounts usually result in insignificant alterations in vote tallies.
- The larger the number of votes cast in an election, the less the likelihood of a recount.
These findings will provide a substantive basis for commenting on election disputes, reforming state laws on recounts, and forecasting the recount scenario in the event of nationwide direct presidential elections.