Rumor vs Reality

Rumor: If you don't like the results, you can always ask for a recount. Reality: A recount rarely changes the outcome.

Published October 26, 2020

Each state has slightly different rules for recounts. In 27 states a recount is automatic if the vote is very close. In 43 states, a candidate can request (and pay for) a recount if the results are within a specific margin.

Recounts rarely change the outcome of a race. One study found that on average, recounts change the vote totals by just 188 votes per million votes cast, or 0.0188%. Out of 27 recent recounts, the winner changed in just three races: one for Senator, one for Governor, and one for State Auditor.

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