Below is a general overview of and the four different types of recounts: California’s required Automatic Manual Tally, Santa Clara County’s Automatic Recount Policy, Voter Requested Recounts, and Court Ordered Recounts.
One of the most important processes during the official canvass of the vote is California’s required Automatic Manual Tally of the votes cast in 1% of the precincts in the county, with additional precincts counted, if necessary, to include all contests in the election.
In Santa Clara County, the Registrar of Voters must also adhere to the County’s Automatic Recount Policy, in addition to the State’s mandated 1% automatic count.
California’s Automatic Manual Tally
California Elections Code Section 15360 requires that, prior to certifying the election, a random sample of ballots from every election must be recounted manually to verify the computer count. The manual tally must include, at minimum, votes cast in one percent (1%) of the precincts. Additional precincts are counted in order to manually verify each contest on the ballot. This manual recount must be completed before the election is certified. The Automatic Manual Recount is open to the public.
Santa Clara County’s Automatic Recount Policy
Pursuant to Board of Supervisors’ Policy 3.63, the County of Santa Clara perform an automatic recount for contests with a margin of victory less than 0.25% (one-quarter of one percent) of ballots cast, or where that margin is equal to or less than 25 total ballots.
The automatic recount applies only to contests whose jurisdictions are wholly contained within the County of Santa Clara. The recount will be performed manually except in the case of a countywide or City of San Jose citywide contest, in which case the recount will be conducted by tabulation machine. The recount will be conducted prior to the certification of election results.
The recounted will be conducted concurrently with the 1% manual tally as an extension of that tally, pursuant to Elections Code Section 15360(a)(1)(B)(ii). Contests qualifying for the recount according to the above criteria will be based on the most recent results reported prior to commencement of the 1% manual tally, and following the completed of tally of all outstanding Vote by Mail, provisional and conditional voter ballots. Ballots will be pulled and prepared for the automatic recount concurrent with and in the same manner as the regular 1% manual tally.
Contested Elections – Court Proceedings
California Elections Code Division 16 refers to the right for any voter or candidate to contest the election results, in court, on very serious grounds that certain conduct had occurred that has affected the outcome of the election. The petition and grounds follow the same process as found above, under Court Ordered Recounts.
In addition, under Section 16101, at a primary election, a candidate may contest the right of another candidate to nomination to the same office by filing an affidavit alleging any of the following other grounds in addition to Section 16100 have occurred:
- The (nominated) defendant is not eligible to the office in dispute.
- There were enough votes cast that were illegal, fraudulent, forged, or otherwise improper, and that had those votes not been counted, the defendant would not have received as many votes as the contestant.
- There were enough eligible voters who were denied their right to vote, and that had those voters been permitted to vote, the defendant would not have received as many votes as the contestant.
- Due to mistake, error, or misconduct the votes in any precinct were so incorrectly counted as to change the result.