Prepared by

Santa Cruz County Elections

701 Ocean St., Room 210
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
831-454-2445 (FAX)



The purpose of the manual recount is to verify the machine count by viewing each ballot, determining how it was voted, and manually tallying those votes.






Appoint Spokesperson

Observers/Representatives for each party of interest shall appoint a spokesperson for their group. This person can be in addition to the observers and will have access to all parts of the recount area when escorted by election office personnel. A different person may be appointed periodically upon notification to the election official. Such persons shall be authorized by the parties of interest to make final decisions in their behalf.



Counting Boards

Each counting board shall consist of four clerks. A supervisor will supervise a maximum of two boards.



Additional Costs

If additional research is requested prior to completion of the recount of ballots, the estimated cost of that research shall be deposited with the election official before such research will commence and before the ballot counting is complete.


Order of precincts

The initial request for a recount may specify the order of precincts to be counted. In absence of such request, the election official shall determine the order of the count. Any change to the order must be requested in writing and approved by the election official.


Relevant material

Any research/review/handling of relevant election material shall be done solely at the discretion of the election official. One representative of each party of interest may be present. Requests to research/review relevant material must be received before the recounting of the ballots is completed. The requestor shall pay all additional costs to complete the research/review.



Prior to the commencement of the recount, the election official shall determine the number of boards necessary to complete the recount in a timely manner.

The recount shall proceed according to the schedule set by the election official. The recount must continue daily, except Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays for a minimum of six hours per day until completed or discontinued at the request of the initial recount requestor.

The exact hours of operation, break and lunch times shall be determined by the election official.




The election official shall determine the security of the ballots. Any additional security measures must be approved in advance by the election official and paid for by the requestor. (No additional security measures will be taken unless necessary)




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. Only final numbers released by the County Clerk are official.

All precincts in the jurisdiction must be recounted and the outcome must change in order for the official results of the election to be recertified.






Number of observers

There should be no more than one observer per interested party on each side of the recount table (positioned behind members of the recount board).




Observers and spokespersons will be required to log in and receive a badge before entering the recount area. Badges must be worn during the recount and returned to the election official at the end of the day.






Observers must follow all rules established by the election official or they may be refused entry to the recount area.

Observers may not sit at a recount table and may not touch any ballots, tally sheets or other material of the recount board. Observers may not place any material on the recount table. Except to challenge a ballot, talking is discouraged in the recount area.



Questions concerning the specifics of the recount, other than challenges, are to be routed through the spokesperson who will then direct the question to the designated election office personnel. Observers and spokespersons are not to direct questions to the members of the recount boards. Resolution of questions shall include representatives of all parties of interest.


How to challenge

Ballots may be challenged for incompleteness, ambiguity or other defects.

To challenge a ballot the following procedure shall be used:

The person challenging shall state the reason for the challenge.

The recount board shall determine how to count the ballot. If the challenger disagrees with the board’s decision, the challenged ballot shall then be set aside with a notation containing the precinct number, the unique identifier number, how the ballot was counted, why it was challenged and by whom.



Challenges shall be resolved at the end of each day, or more often if necessary, at the challenge resolution table. The challenge resolution table may consist of the election official and/or designee, county counsel, and no more than two representatives from each party of interest. The determination of the election official at the challenge resolution table shall be final.




Radios, cameras and tape recorders are not allowed. Pagers and cellular phones must be set to vibrate or off mode while observing the recount. You may use one of the telephones in the front office should you need to make a call.

Restrooms are located on either side of the elevators.

No smoking is allowed in the Elections Department.

No eating/drinking is allowed in the recount area.



Media will be allowed for brief periods to record video, sound and photographs of the recount process as long as it does not interfere with the recounting of ballots.

Anyone who does not want to be on video or photographed must make sure the camera operators are aware of your desire.

Interviews with election officials, observers and/or campaign spokespersons must not occur in the recount area.

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