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Legislature passes bill changing election recount rules

Published February 22, 2013 11:21 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

No recount was needed on this one — the Senate unanimously passed a bill Friday to change the rules about when losing candidates may request recounts in Utah. It now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.

HB85 would allow a recount if the difference between votes for a winning and losing candidate is 0.25 percent or less of the total vote. Also in elections where 400 or fewer votes are cast, it allows a recount if the difference is just one vote.

Its sponsor, Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, said that would change the current system that allows a recount if the difference amounts to one vote or fewer per precinct. Because of wide differences in the number of precincts in many races, that has led to inconsistency.

For example for Utah House seats, the current system allows requesting a recount with widely different percentage differences, a range of 0.124 percent to 0.42 percent.

Hall said some have wrongly asserted the bill is a "sour grapes" attempt by Republicans to change rules because Mia Love was unable to request a recount in her close congressional race with Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah. Hall said the difference in that race was 0.31 percent, and Love would still not have been able to request a recount under his bill.

Lee Davidson