WASHINGTON (glossesweb.com) - U.S. President Donald Trump wishes a recount that votes will assist keep President-elect Joe Biden out of the White House, however as typical as recounts may be, especially for state and also local candidates, only three in the last two years have readjusted the an outcome and none because that a presidential election.

You are watching: How often do recounts change election results

A human counts postal ballots adhering to the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, in Downey, near Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 5, 2020. glossesweb.com/Lucy Nicholson
Here’s exactly how recounts work and also the affect they have had:


In a recount, authorities repeat the process of tallying up votes. They room a relatively common attribute of U.S. Elections, though rarely in presidential contests.

“Recounts space routine. Run-of-the-mill,” stated William & Mary legislation School professor Rebecca Green. She stated they usually display the an initial count come be relatively accurate, though tiny discrepancies, frequently caused by differing judgments about how to counting ballots marked by hand and also other issues, room not unusual.

States take care of recounts differently, but the process mostly comes under to re-tallying the votes.

In Georgia, Republican Secretary the State Brad Raffensperger claimed on Wednesday he had ordered a hand recount due to the fact that of the closeness that the tally, although he believed ballots had actually been count accurately and also there to be no sign of widespread fraud.

The latest Georgia tally put the Democrat Biden ahead of the Republican trump by around 14,000 votes, 49.5% come 49.2%, a difference of 0.3% with nearly all votes counted. Raffensperger said CNN he wanted the hand count completed through Nov. 20.

Voters in Georgia who showed up in person used a brand-new touchscreen voting device that produced paper ballots that were fed right into a scanner and also counted. World who vote absentee offered the very same ballots that went through comparable scanners.

When the machines could not determine which candidate a voter had selected, a bipartisan group of choice officials the evaluation the ballot to decision whether or how it must be counted.

Separately, Trump’s campaign has claimed, without lot proof, that it has uncovered evidence that ballots being cast in the names of human being who to be dead or had moved away, and that the volunteers had been prevented native scrutinizing ballot counting as closely as they wanted. Recounts will certainly not attend to those issues, which have to be combated out in different legal proceedings.

The procedure can take it weeks, but some claims also set a meeting for obtaining it done.


Every state set its own threshold for when to perform a recount. Some require one at any time an election is particularly close. In Pennsylvania, among the says pivotal come Biden’s victory, a recount would certainly be forced if the margin in between the win candidate and also the runner-up is much less than 0.5% that the votes cast in the election. Yet Biden led Trump there by 0.8%.

Voters in an election district can separately petition their county come recount votes there and the legislation does not set a threshold for when one must occur.

Other states favor Georgia and also Wisconsin permit a losing candidate to force a recount however do not need one. Georgia enables candidates to look for a recount if the margin is less than 0.5%; Wisconsin permits one if it is much less than 1%. In Wisconsin, Biden led by 0.7%.

Typically, candidates make those requests ~ a state has certified its final vote tally, which has yet to happen.


Recounts rarely upset the results of an election. As soon as they have, the has remained in cases in which only a couple of hundred votes be separate the optimal two candidates.

A study last year through the non-partisan group Fair poll concluded that says had conducted 31 statewide recounts in between 2000 and 2019, and that the outcome readjusted in just three of them. That taken place in a governor’s race in Washington state in 2004 and in a state auditor’s race in vermont in 2006.

A recount likewise decided the result of a U.S. Senate race in Minnesota in 2008. Before the recount, the incumbent senator, share Coleman, to be ahead by 215 votes; once it was over, his opponent, Al Franken, winner by 225. However delayed by legitimate proceedings the contest took so lengthy that the state’s U.S. Senate seat continued to be empty for 6 months.

More often, in a recount the winner won by a tiny bit more. On average, they shifted the outcome by 0.024%, same Vote found - a vastly smaller margin than Trump would should overtake Biden in any kind of of the battleground says where the was losing by small margins.

Wisconsin recounted the presidential votes as soon as Trump was chosen in 2016. Green Party candidate Jill Stein, that won about 1% that the vote, seek the recount. The process added 131 votes to Trump’s tally.

See more: How To Catch A Cheating Husband With An Iphone Spy Apps For A Cheating Spouse

The most renowned presidential recount remained in Florida in 2000, as soon as George W. Bush was 1,784 votes front of Al Gore in a state the would determine which that them would be president. After a recount and litigation that checked out the U.S. Supreme Court, Florida ultimately declared that bush had winner by 537 votes.