Recall & Recount Guidelines
Recall is the power of the voters to remove elected officials before their term is up. The Recall Procedure Guide contains two parts: How to recall state officials and how to recall local officials.
Elections officials recount votes to make sure the number of votes counted for an office or measure was correct. California Elections Code chapter 23, Sections 15620 through 15634 [link needed].
An elections official will post a notice stating the date and place of the recount at least one day before. They’ll notify the following people in person or by a federally regulated overnight mail service (E.C. 15628):
- All candidates for the office being recounted.
- Authorized representatives for presidential candidates, if the race for presidential delegates is to be recounted.
- Proponents of any initiative or referendum or persons filing ballot arguments for or against any initiative, referendum or measure to be recounted.
- Secretary of State if the recount is for candidates for any state or federal office, delegates to a national convention, or any state measure.
- The recount is open to the public. (E.C. 15629)
- Recount must start no later than seven (7) calendar days following the receipt of the request. It takes place 6 hours a day until completed, except Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. (E.C. 15626)
- No results or running tallies will be released to observers or the media during the recount. Observers may keep their own notes if they wish; however, any numbers they release are not official if they have not been confirmed by the elections official.
- A manual recount must be conducted under the supervision of the elections official by recount boards. The board consists of four voters of the county, appointed by the elections official. Recount board members are paid the same as precinct board clerks (not inspectors). (E.C. 15625)
- The party who requests the recount is responsible for the cost.
Result of a Recount
The results of a recount are declared null and void unless every vote in which the contest appeared is recounted. (E.C. 15632) Upon completion of a recount, if a different candidate, slate of electors, or position on a measure receives a plurality of votes, the results of the official canvass will be changed and the election results re-certified. (E.C. 15632)
A copy of the results of any recount conducted shall be posted conspicuously in the office of the elections official. (E.C. 15633)
Automatic Manual Recount
By law, a random sample of ballots from every election must be recounted manually to verify the computer count. A minimum of all votes cast in 1% of the precincts is included in this process. This manual recount must be completed before the election is certified. This process is open to the public. (E.C. 15360).