Information on Recounts

There are two ways in which a recount is triggered in Colorado.

1. The total votes that separate any winner on any ballot issue or in any candidate race is less than 0.5%. Under this circumstance, the Colorado Secretary of State shall order a recount within 25 days (C.R.S 1-10.5-101(b)).  A memo of clarity from the Secretary of State is available from the links below in the document titled “How to Determine if a Mandatory Recount is Required.”

Example:
Candidate #1 – 200 votes
Candidate #2 – 198 votes

(1) 200 votes – 198 votes = 2 votes
(2) 2 votes ÷ 200 votes = .01 or 1%
(3) 1% is greater than 0.5%, therefore a recount is not mandated.

2. Any “interested party” may request a recount of a vote for an election to which they were a party.

There is also a quick reference guide provided by the Colorado Secretary of State which can be found in the list of resources at the bottom of this page.

What is an “interested party”?

An interested party is defined by (C.R.S. 1-10.5-106(1)): As used in this section, “interested party” means the candidate who lost the election, the political party or political organization of such candidate, any petition representative identified pursuant to section 1-40-113 for a ballot issue or ballot question that did not pass at the election, the governing body that referred a ballot question or ballot issue to the electorate if such ballot question or ballot issue did not pass at the election, or the agent of an issue committee that is required to report contributions pursuant to the Fair Campaign Practices Act, article 45 of this title, that either supported a ballot question or ballot issue that did not pass at the election or opposed a ballot question or ballot issue that passed at the election.

A link to the Fair Campaign Practices Act can be found in the list of resources at the bottom of this page.

Who pays for a recount?

If the recount is triggered due to a vote differential of less than 0.5% between any election item winner and any election item loser, the certifying entity (State, County, Municipality, etc.) that certified the ballot issue is responsible for the fees (C.R.S 1-10.5-101(b)).

If the recount comes at the request of an interested party, the interested party is responsible for the expense of the recount (C.R.S 1-10.5-101(b)) provided the results of the recount do not change the outcome of the election. If the recount does reverse the outcome of the election, or if the recount shows that a recount should have automatically been triggered, the cost of the recount will be refunded to the interested party (C.R.S. 1-10.5-106(2)).

Fee for Recounts of Results that are less than 5%

Fees assessed for recounts of results where the interested party requesting the recount was less than five percent (5%) from prevailing in the election to be recounted, will be determined by adding all of the additional costs that will be incurred by conducting the recount. This fee will include but is not limited to costs for: election judges, Canvass Board members, temporary staff used just for the recount, additional office supplies, etc. Normal operating costs for the Elections Division will not be included for these recounts.

Our office is unable to provide a quote for recount fees until after the Board of Canvass has certified the election. Once the election is certified by the Board of Canvass, estimates of recount costs will be provided within one day of receipt of request.

Fee for Recounts of Results that are 5% or more

Fees assessed for recounts of results where the interested party requesting the recount was five percent (5%) or more from prevailing in the election to be recounted, will be determined by adding all of the total costs associated with conducting the recount to include normal operating costs directly related to performing the recount. This fee will include but is not limited to all costs for: election judges, Canvass Board members, any staff time needed for the recount, any office supplies needed, prorated percentage of utilities, and any other cost, etc.

Our office is unable to provide an estimate for recount fees until after the Board of Canvass has certified the election. Once the election is certified by the Board of Canvass, estimates of recount costs will be provided within one day of receipt of request.

Colorado Law Regarding Recounts

The Colorado Revised Statutes governing recounts can be viewed and printed from the link below titled, “C.R.S. 1-10.5: Recounts.”

Additional Resources