State of the State: Cuomo proposes automatic recounts for close elections


TAMPA, FL – OCTOBER 22: Voting booths are setup at the Yuengling center on the campus of University of South Florida as workers prepare to open the doors to early voters on October 22, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. Florida voters head to the polls to cast their early ballots in the race for the Senate as well as the Governors seats. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – According to Wednesday’s 2020 State of the State address, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo would mandate automatic manual recounts in close elections, arguing for a standardized, fair, and prompt statewide process to best represent the will of voters.

Potential legislation would establish clear conditions and create consistent procedures to trigger automatic manual recounts in closely run elections. Such requirements are not outlined in current law, have not been implemented by most county boards of elections, and only rarely are compelled through the courts.

Lacking standards for conducting recounts often leaves campaigns and county election boards unprepared for the results of competitive contests. Recounts through costly and prolonged litigation unnecessarily burden local governments and weaken trust in the electoral system.

Cuomo’s legislation would amend current state election law with directions for a timely and accurate process that requires automatic recounts:

  • In statewide elections and ballot initiatives whose margin of victory is 0.2% of all votes cast.
  • In local contests whose margin of victory is 0.5% of votes.
  • Are completed manually.

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