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Breaking Down the Law: Where can candidates get a recount, and how?

LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — Yesterday was election day, and we still do not know the winners in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, and Nevada.

It is uncertain when these states’ election results will be certified. With the difference in votes so tight, however, there is already talk of recounts taking place.

With the election hanging in the balance, many are asking what the procedures are for recounts, and whether the rules change depending upon which state the recount is to occur.

There is not a uniform method for recounts. Article I of the U.S. Constitution gives the individual states the responsibility of overseeing Federal elections.

Some states have an automatic recount depending upon how close the result is. In other states, a recount can be requested if the vote is within a certain margin. Some states allow a recount to be requested if there’s simply an allegation of fraud or mistake. In still others, both an automatic recount and a requested recount available.

So there is no “uniform” method for these recounts, and the rules vary widely depending upon which state you are in.

Let’s talk about the states still in play for the election.

Starting with Nevada, we do NOT have an Automatic recount. Nevada allows any candidate defeated at any election to request a recount, however.

The deadline to request a recount is no later than three business days after the canvass of the vote. Each recount must begin within five days after the request and must be completed no later than five days after its start.

There is no minimum margin of victory requirement, like other states have.

There is no Automatic recount in Wisdonsin, but a candidate may only request a recount if they trail the leading candidate by no more than 1% of the total votes cast for the office. Right now, President Trump trails Joe Biden by less than 1%

An interesting one is Michigan. There is no Automatic recount in Michigan, but a candidate can request a Recount as long as they allege “fraud or mistake” in the election count.

There does not have to be specific evidence of wrongdoing alleged, so long as the request for a recount sets forth the nature of any alleged fraud or mistakes having been made.

With mail-in voting, this is a pretty easy allegation to make.

In Arizona, things are pretty strict. You cannot Request a recount, and an automatic recount will only occur if the total vote is within one-tenth of one percent of the total votes cast.

I highly doubt the vote will be that close in Arizona, but you never know.

In North Carolina, a candidate can request a recount if the difference in votes is 10,000 votes or 0.5% of the votes cast, whichever is less.

If the recount changes the outcome in North Carolina, the other candidate can request a second recount. And if that second recount changes things back the other way, the state will do an automatic recount, state-wide (vote by vote) to make a final determination.

President Trump is currently winning by over 2% in North Carolina.

Lastly, in Georgia, there are no automatic recounts – they must be requested. But the margin between candidates must be less than or equal to 0.5%. President Trump is currently winning by over 2%.

So, the bottom line is there will likely be requests for recounts, and there will be lawsuits over ballots being thrown out versus counted, especially when it comes to mail-in votes.