State Election Laws



Photo by Jonathan Drake from Reuters

On November 7, 2020, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were declared President and Vice President elect of the United States. As a response, Trump’s campaign placed multiple lawsuits on deciding states where they believed fraud had been committed, demanding recounts. These key states have different laws when it comes to election recounts. Below is a list of the election laws from these deciding states.

Arizona: If a candidate wins by a 0.1% margin or less, state law mandates a recount. There is no official deadline for how long the recount should take, but the courts can choose to set one. Non-mandatory recounts are not allowed.

Georgia: Recounts are not mandated, but a candidate can request one if the margin is 0.5% or less. Candidates have until two business days after county certifications to request a recount, paid for by the state.

Michigan: If there is a difference of 2,000 or fewer votes, a recount is mandated by the state; and it must be completed 39 days after general election results are certified. If there is evidence that voter fraud has been committed, a non-mandatory recount may be requested; however, the opposing candidate can file a counter-petition within seven days of the original complaint. Non-mandatory recounts must be requested 48 hours after the votes in question have been solicited and must be fully counted 39 days after general election results have been certified. This is paid for by the petitioner. Partial recounts can be requested; and if the results change, the bond will be refunded.

Nevada: Non-mandatory recounts can be requested three business days after county or state votes have been solicited, depending on the type of election. The recount must be completed within ten days of the request and paid for by the losing candidate. Partial recounts can be requested, and any voter can request a recount pertaining to a ballot question as long as they pay the bond.

Pennsylvania: Recounts are mandatory and happen automatically if the margin between candidates is 0.5% or less, and the votes must be counted with a deadline of three weeks after the election. Non-mandatory recounts are allowed once three electors from three different districts are being contested, claiming there has been an error. This request must be made five days after the unofficial canvass has been completed and paid for by the petitioner, who will be refunded if a mistake is found.

Wisconsin: Non-mandatory recounts can be requested if there is a margin of 1% or less in a race with more than 4,000 votes. The request must be made on the third business day after the county canvass has been completed and will be paid for by the petitioner. The recount must be completed within 13 days of the initial request. Partial recounts are allowed and can be requested by the candidates or electors who voted on a referendum question. The petitioner does not have to pay the fee as long as specific requirements are met, and they will only be refunded the payment if the outcome changes.