CHAPTER 148
ELECTION CANVASS AND RETURNS

Table of Contents

Sec. 9-307. Certificate of check lists.
Sec. 9-308. Canvass of returns.
Sec. 9-309. Procedure for announcing result.
Sec. 9-311. Recanvass in case of discrepancy.
Sec. 9-320f. Manual audit of votes by registrars of voters or town clerk. Offices subject to audit. University of Connecticut analysis. Discrepancy recanvass. Voting tabulator failure to record votes. Secretary of the State investigation and report. Regulations. Definitions.

      Sec. 9-307. Certificate of check lists. Immediately after the polls are closed, the official checkers, appointed under the provisions of section 9-234, shall make and deliver to the moderator a certificate, in duplicate, stating the whole number of names on the registry list or enrollment list including, if applicable, unaffiliated electors authorized under section 9-431 to vote in the primary, and the number checked as having voted in that election or primary. For the purpose of computing the whole number of names on the registry list, the lists of persons who have applied for presidential or overseas ballots prepared in accordance with section 9-158h shall be included. Thereupon the registrars or assistant registrars, as the case may be, acting at the respective polls, shall write and sign with ink, on the list or lists so used and checked, a certificate of the whole number of names registered thereon eligible to vote in the election or primary and the number checked as having voted in that election or primary, and deposit it in the office of the municipal clerk of their town on or before the following day. The municipal clerk shall carefully preserve the same on file, with the marks on it without alteration, for public inspection, and shall immediately enter a certified copy of such certificate on the town records. Subject to the provisions of section 7-109, the municipal clerk may destroy any voting check list four years after the date upon which it was used. The moderator shall place one of the duplicate certificates which the moderator received from the official checkers with the voted ballots from the polling place and the moderator's return provided for in sections 9-259 and 9-310 and shall then lock the tabulator as provided in section 9-310, and the moderator shall deposit the other of such duplicate certificates in the office of the municipal clerk on or before the following day.

      (1949 Rev., S. 1070; 1953, S. 785d; 1957, P.A. 526, S. 1; 1963, P.A. 200; February, 1965, P.A. 365; P.A. 76-295, S. 15, 18; P.A. 77-245, S. 9; P.A. 86-179, S. 44, 53; P.A. 87-509, S. 11, 24; P.A. 88-364, S. 13, 123; P.A. 11-20, S. 20.)

      History: 1963 act added authority to destroy check list after four years; 1965 act provided for count of whole number of names on registry list to include the list of new resident voters prepared pursuant to Sec. 9-163g; P.A. 76-295 deleted the latter provision and inserted provision for the count to include persons who applied for presidential ballots and those who applied for overseas ballots; P.A. 77-245 changed "town clerk's office" to "office of the municipal clerk" and "town" to "municipal" clerk where appearing; P.A. 86-179 made technical changes; P.A. 87-509 required certificate to also state whole number of names on enrollment list including, if applicable, unaffiliated electors authorized to vote in primary; P.A. 88-364 made a technical change; P.A. 11-20 replaced reference to duplicate certificates received in the voting machine with reference to voted ballots from the polling place, replaced "machine" with "tabulator" and made technical changes, effective May 24, 2011.

(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)

      Sec. 9-308. Canvass of returns. Immediately on the close of the polls, the election officials shall proceed to canvass the returns as provided in section 9-309 and shall not stop for any purpose until the canvass is completed. The room in which such canvass is made shall be clearly lighted and such canvass shall be made in plain view of the public. No person or persons, during the canvass, shall close or cause to be closed the main entrance to the room in which such canvass is conducted, in such manner as to prevent ingress or egress thereby, but, during such canvass, no person other than the election officials shall be permitted to be in the area where the voting tabulator is located.

      (1949 Rev., S. 1212; 1953, S. 786d; 1957, P.A. 526, S. 2; P.A. 11-20, S. 1; 11-173, S. 48.)

      History: P.A. 11-173 replaced language re guard rail with "in the area" and replaced "machine" with "tabulator", effective July 13, 2011.

(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)

      Sec. 9-309. Procedure for announcing result. As soon as the polls are closed, the moderator, in the presence of the other election officials, shall immediately lock the voting tabulator against voting and immediately cause the vote totals for all candidates and questions to be produced. The moderator shall, in the order of the offices as their titles are arranged on the ballot, read and announce in distinct tones the result as shown, giving the number indicated and indicating the candidate to whom such total belongs, and shall read the votes recorded for each office on the ballot. The moderator shall also, in the same manner, announce the vote on each constitutional amendment, proposition or other question voted on. The vote so announced by the moderator shall be taken down by each checker and recorded on the tally sheets. Each checker shall record the number of votes received for each candidate on the ballot and also the number received by each person for whom write-in ballots were cast. The result totals shall remain in full public view until the statement of canvass and all other reports have been fully completed and signed by the moderator, checkers and registrars, or assistant registrars, as the case may be. The result of the votes cast shall be publicly announced by the moderator, who shall read the name of each candidate, with the designating number and letter on the ballot and the absentee vote as furnished the moderator by the absentee ballot counters; also the vote cast for and against each question submitted. While such announcement is being made, ample opportunity shall be given to any person lawfully present to compare the results so announced with the result totals provided by the tabulator and any necessary corrections shall then and there be made by the moderator, checkers and registrars or assistant registrars, after which the compartments of the voting tabulator shall be closed and locked. In canvassing, recording and announcing the result, the election officials shall be guided by any instructions furnished by the Secretary of the State.

      (1949 Rev., S. 1213; 1953, S. 787d; 1957, P.A. 526, S. 3; February, 1965, P.A. 408, S. 2; 1969, P.A. 9, S. 1; P.A. 83-475, S. 23, 43; P.A. 11-20, S. 21.)

      History: 1965 act provided that where machine is equipped with device for printing totals of candidate and questions counters, concealing doors not to be opened and the printed record shall be the official return and so proclaimed with opportunity given persons lawfully present to inspect the records, however, where printed record not clear concealing doors to be opened and counting proceed as with other machines; 1969 act deleted provision for alternate to moderator to announce results of votes cast, and added provision for announcing both the machine vote registered on the counter and the absentee vote furnished to moderator by absentee ballot counters; P.A. 83-475 amended section to make use of printing device on voting machines permissive rather than mandatory; P.A. 11-20 replaced "voting machine" with "tabulator", "machine" with "ballot" re arrangement of candidates and "voting machine ballot label" with "ballot", replaced provisions re counters, doors and other language specific to voting machines with provisions re tabulators and made technical changes, effective May 24, 2011.

(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)

      Sec. 9-311. Recanvass in case of discrepancy. (a) If, within three days after an election, it appears to the moderator that there is a discrepancy in the returns of any voting district, such moderator shall forthwith within said period summon, by written notice delivered personally, the recanvass officials, consisting of at least two checkers of different political parties and at least two absentee ballot counters of different political parties who served at such election, and the registrars of voters of the municipality in which the election was held and such other officials as may be required to conduct such recanvass. Such written notice shall require the clerk or registrars of voters, as the case may be, to bring with them the depository envelopes required by section 9-150a, the package of write-in ballots provided for in section 9-310, the absentee ballot applications, the list of absentee ballot applications, the registry list and the moderators' returns and shall require such recanvass officials to meet at a specified time not later than the fifth business day after such election to recanvass the returns of a voting tabulator or voting tabulators or absentee ballots or write-in ballots used in such district in such election. If any of such recanvass officials are unavailable at the time of the recanvass, the registrar of voters of the same political party as that of the recanvass official unable to attend shall designate another elector having previous training and experience in the conduct of elections to take his place. Before such recanvass is made, such moderator shall give notice, in writing, to the chairman of the town committee of each political party which nominated candidates for the election, and, in the case of a state election, not later than twenty-four hours after a determination is made regarding the need for a recanvass to the Secretary of the State, of the time and place where such recanvass is to be made; and each such chairman may send representatives to be present at such recanvass. Such representatives may observe, but no one other than a recanvass official may take part in the recanvass. If any irregularity in the recanvass procedure is noted by such a representative, he shall be permitted to present evidence of such irregularity in any contest relating to the election.

      (b) The moderator shall determine the place or places where the recanvass shall be conducted and, if such recanvass is held before the tabulators are boxed and collected in the manner required by section 9-266, the moderator may either require that such recanvass of such tabulators be conducted in each place where the tabulators are located, or he may require that they be removed to one central place, where such recanvass shall be conducted. All recanvassing procedures shall be open to public observation. Such recanvass officials shall, in the presence of such moderator and registrars of voters, make a record of the number on the seal and the number on the protective counter, if one is provided, on each voting tabulator specified by such moderator. Such registrars of voters in the presence of such moderator shall turn over the keys of each such tabulator to such recanvass officials, and such recanvass officials, in the presence of such registrars of voters and moderator, shall immediately proceed to recanvass the vote cast thereon, and shall then open the package of absentee ballots and recanvass the vote cast thereon. In the course of the recanvass of the absentee ballot vote the recanvass officials shall check all outer envelopes for absentee ballots against the inner envelopes for such ballots and against the registry list to verify postmarks, addresses and registry list markings and also to determine whether the number of envelopes from which absentee ballots have been removed is the same as the number of persons checked as having voted by absentee ballot. The write-in ballots shall also be recanvassed at this time. All of the recanvass officials shall use the same forms for tallies and returns as were used at the original canvass and the absentee ballot counters shall also sign the tallies.

      (c) The votes shall be announced and recorded in the manner prescribed in section 9-309 on return forms provided by the registrars of voters and appended thereto shall be a statement signed by the moderator indicating the time and place of the recanvass and the names, addresses, titles and party affiliations of the recanvass officials. The write-in ballots shall be replaced in a properly secured sealed package. Upon the completion of such recanvass, any tabulator used in such recanvass shall be locked and sealed, the keys thereof shall immediately be returned to such registrars of voters and such tabulator shall remain so locked until the expiration of fourteen days after such election or for such longer period as is ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction. The absentee ballots shall be replaced in their wrappers and be resealed by the moderator in the presence of the recanvass officials. Upon the completion of such recanvass, such moderator and at least two of the recanvass officials of different political parties shall forthwith prepare and sign such return forms which shall contain a written statement giving the result of such recanvass for each tabulator and each package of absentee ballots whose returns were so recanvassed, setting forth whether or not the original canvass was correctly made and stating whether or not the discrepancy still remains unaccounted for. Such return forms containing such statement shall forthwith be filed by the moderator in the office of such clerk. If such recanvass reveals that the original canvass of returns was not correctly made, such return forms containing such statement so filed with the clerk shall constitute a corrected return. In the case of a state election, a recanvass return shall be made in duplicate on a form prescribed and provided by the Secretary of the State, and the moderator shall file one copy with the Secretary of the State and one copy with the town clerk not later than ten days after the election. Such recanvass return shall be substituted for the original return and shall have the same force and effect as an original return.

      (d) As used in this section, (1) "moderator" means, in the case of municipalities not divided into voting districts, the moderator of the election and, in the case of municipalities divided into voting districts, the head moderator of the election, and (2) "registrars of voters", in a municipality where there are different registrars of voters for different voting districts, means the registrars of voters in the voting district in which, at the last-preceding election, the presiding officer for the purpose of declaring the result of the vote of the whole municipality was moderator.

      (1949 Rev., S. 1214; 1953, S. 789d; 1957, P.A. 526, S. 5; 1959, P.A. 527, S. 1; 1963, P.A. 311, S. 1; 1967, P.A. 885, S. 2; 1971, P.A. 836, S. 2; P.A. 77-239, S. 1; P.A. 85-382, S. 1; P.A. 93-30, S. 9, 14; P.A. 95-88, S. 3; P.A. 11-173, S. 21.)

      History: 1959 act included recanvass of absentee ballots; 1963 act required duplicate of moderator's statement of recanvass in state election be sent to secretary and provided corrected return be substituted for and have effect of original; 1967 act provided for written notice of a recanvass for discrepancy to be delivered personally to recanvass officials as specified and the registrars of voters requiring recanvass officials to meet at specified time and if such officials unable to attend, registrars to designate another elector of same party to substitute, also provided for notice to secretary of the state in the case of a state election, substituted "recanvass officials" for "election officials" throughout, provided for moderator to determine where recanvass to occur, provided for votes cast by absentee ballots to be announced and recorded as prescribed in Sec. 9-309 on forms provided by municipal clerk with statement signed by moderator appended indicating time, place and particulars concerning recanvass officials, further provided that, in addition to moderator, at least two of the recanvass officials of different political parties to prepare and sign return forms, deleted provision for witnessing of the forms; where recanvass reveals original canvass of returns not correctly made, provided that return forms containing such statement filed with the clerk shall constitute a corrected return, changed provision in the case of a state election so that recanvass return made on form provided by secretary of the state and in addition to copy filed with latter and copy to be filed with town clerk, substituted "recanvass return" for "corrected return" in the provision for the return to be substituted for the original return, further provided that term "registrars of voters" in municipality having different registrars for different voting districts means the registrars in the voting district in which at the last-preceding election, the presiding officer for purposes of declaring result of vote of the whole municipality was moderator; 1971 act deleted "or chief" from "head or chief moderator" and also the proviso that where "there is no head or chief moderator, the moderator of the first district"; P.A. 77-239 included write-in votes as a part of the recanvass; P.A. 85-382 required clerk to bring absentee ballot applications, list of absentee ballot applications, registry list, moderators' returns and depository envelope for recanvass, required designated elector to have training and experience in the conduct of elections, required that no one other than recanvass official take part in recanvass, allowed representative to present evidence of any irregularity, mandated that procedures be open to public, required recanvass officials to check outer envelopes for absentee ballots against inner envelopes for such ballots and against the registry list to verify postmarks, addresses and registry list markings, required determination of whether the number of envelopes correspond with number of persons checked as voting by absentee ballot, required officials to use same forms for tallies and returns as used at original recanvass, and required absentee ballot counters to sign the tallies; P.A. 93-30 made technical changes, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 95-88 divided section into Subsecs., amended Subsec. (a) to change time of recanvass officials' meeting from within 5 business days after election to not later than fifth business day after election, and amended Subsec. (c) to change number of days machine remains locked from 10 to 14; P.A. 11-173 amended Subsec. (a) by providing that the registrars of voters and such other officials as may be required conduct recanvass, that either the clerk or registrars of voters bring depository envelopes and that notice, in the case of a state election, be not later than twenty-four hours after determination of need for recanvass and by deleting "two" re number of representatives a chairman may send, amended Subsec. (b) by replacing "clerk" with "registrars of voters" and by deleting language re counter compartment of and unlocking of machine, amended Subsec. (c) by replacing "municipal clerk" and "clerk" with "registrars of voters", and deleted references to mechanics, changed references to machines to references to tabulators and made technical changes in Subsecs. (a) to (c), effective July 13, 2011.

(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)

      Sec. 9-320f. Manual audit of votes by registrars of voters or town clerk. Offices subject to audit. University of Connecticut analysis. Discrepancy recanvass. Voting tabulator failure to record votes. Secretary of the State investigation and report. Regulations. Definitions. (a) Not earlier than the fifteenth day after any election or primary and not later than two business days before the canvass of votes by the Secretary of the State, Treasurer and Comptroller, for any federal or state election or primary, or by the town clerk for any municipal election or primary, the registrars of voters shall conduct a manual audit of the votes recorded in not less than ten per cent of the voting districts in the state, district or municipality, whichever is applicable. Such manual audit shall be noticed in advance and be open to public observation. Any election official who participates in the administration and conduct of an audit pursuant to this section shall be compensated by the municipality at the standard rate of pay established by such municipality for elections or primaries, as the case may be.

      (b) The voting districts subject to the audit described in subsection (a) of this section shall be selected in a random drawing by the Secretary of the State and such selection process shall be open to the public. The offices subject to the audit pursuant to this section shall be, (1) in the case of an election where the office of presidential elector is on the ballot, all offices required to be audited by federal law, plus one additional office selected in a random drawing by the Secretary of the State, but in no case less than three offices, (2) in the case of an election where the office of Governor is on the ballot, all offices required to be audited by federal law, plus one additional office selected in a random drawing by the Secretary of the State, but in no case less than three offices, (3) in the case of a municipal election, three offices or twenty per cent of the number of offices on the ballot, whichever is greater, selected at random by the municipal clerk, and (4) in the case of a primary election, all offices required to be audited by federal law, plus one additional office, if any, but in no event less than twenty per cent of the offices on the ballot, selected in a random drawing by the municipal clerk.

      (c) If a selected voting district has an office that is subject to recanvass or an election or primary contest pursuant to the general statutes, the Secretary shall select an alternative district, pursuant to the process described in subsection (b) of this section.

      (d) The manual audit described in subsection (a) of this section shall consist of the manual tabulation of the paper ballots cast and counted by each voting tabulator subject to such audit. Once complete, the vote totals established pursuant to the manual tabulation shall be compared to the results reported by the voting tabulator on the day of the election or primary. The results of the manual tabulation shall be reported on a form prescribed by the Secretary of the State which shall include the total number of ballots counted, the total votes received by each candidate in question, the total votes received by each candidate in question on ballots that were properly completed by each voter and the total votes received by each candidate in question on ballots that were not properly completed by each voter. Such report shall be filed with the Secretary of the State who shall immediately forward such report to The University of Connecticut for analysis. The University of Connecticut shall file a written report with the Secretary of the State regarding such analysis that describes any discrepancies identified. After receipt of such report, the Secretary of the State shall file such report with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

      (e) For the purposes of this section, a ballot that has not been properly completed will be deemed to be a ballot on which (1) votes have been marked by the voter outside the vote targets, (2) votes have been marked by the voter using a manual marking device that cannot be read by the voting tabulator, or (3) in the judgment of the registrars of voters, the voter marked the ballot in such a manner that the voting tabulator may not have read the marks as votes cast.

      (f) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 9-311, the Secretary of the State shall order a discrepancy recanvass of the returns of an election or primary for any office if a discrepancy, as defined in subsection (o) of this section, exists where the margin of victory in the race for such office is less than the amount of the discrepancy multiplied by the total number of voting districts where such race appeared on the ballot, provided in a year in which the Secretary of the State is a candidate for an office on the ballot and that office is subject to an audit as provided by this section, the State Elections Enforcement Commission shall order a discrepancy recanvass if a discrepancy, as defined by subsection (o) of this section, has occurred that could affect the outcome of the election or primary for such office.

      (g) If The University of Connecticut report described in subsection (d) of this section indicates that a voting tabulator failed to record votes accurately and in the manner provided by the general statutes, the Secretary of the State shall require that the voting tabulator be examined and recertified by the Secretary of the State, or the Secretary's designee. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the Secretary of the State from requiring that a voting tabulator be examined and recertified.

      (h) The audit report filed pursuant to subsection (d) of this section shall be open to public inspection and may be used as prima facie evidence of a discrepancy in any contest arising pursuant to chapter 149 or for any other cause of action arising from such election or primary.

      (i) If the audit officials are unable to reconcile the manual count with the electronic vote tabulation and discrepancies, the Secretary of the State shall conduct such further investigation of the voting tabulator malfunction as may be necessary for the purpose of reviewing whether or not to decertify the voting tabulator or tabulators in question or to order the voting tabulator to be examined and recertified pursuant to subsection (g) of this section. Any report produced by the Secretary of the State as a result of such investigation shall be filed with the State Elections Enforcement Commission and the commission may initiate such further investigation in accordance with subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of section 9-7b as may be required to determine if any violations of the general statutes concerning election law have been committed.

      (j) The individual paper ballots used at an election or primary shall be carefully preserved and returned in their designated receptacle in accordance with the requirements of section 9-266 or 9-310, whichever is applicable.

      (k) Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude any candidate or elector from seeking additional remedies pursuant to chapter 149.

      (l) After an election or primary, any voting tabulator may be kept locked for a period longer than that prescribed by sections 9-266, 9-310 and 9-447, if such an extended period is ordered by either a court of competent jurisdiction, the Secretary of the State or the State Elections Enforcement Commission. Either the court or the Secretary of the State may order an audit of such voting tabulator to be conducted by such persons as the court or the Secretary of the State may designate, provided the State Elections Enforcement Commission may order such an audit under the circumstances prescribed in subsection (f) of this section. If the machine utilized in such election or primary is an optical scan voting system, such order to lock such machine shall include the tabulator, memory card and all other components and processes utilized in the programming of such machine.

      (m) The Secretary of the State may adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, as may be necessary for the conduct of the manual tabulation of the paper ballots described in subsection (a) of this section and to establish guidelines for expanded audits when there are differences between the manual and tabulator counts.

      (n) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, the Secretary of the State shall have access to the code in any voting machine whenever any problem is discovered as a result of the audit described in subsection (a) of this section.

      (o) As used in this section, "discrepancy" means any difference in vote totals between tabulator and manual counts in a voting district that exceeds one-half of one per cent of the lesser amount of the vote totals between tabulator and manual counts where such differences cannot be resolved through an accounting of ballots that were not marked properly in accordance with subsection (e) of this section, "state election" means "state election", as defined in section 9-1, and "municipal election" means a municipal election held pursuant to section 9-164.

      (P.A. 07-194, S. 1; P.A. 11-20, S. 35.)

      History: P.A. 07-194 effective July 5, 2007; P.A. 11-20 replaced "machine" with "tabulator" throughout, replaced "machine or machines" with "tabulator or tabulators" in Subsec. (i) and deleted reference to Sec. 9-302 in Subsec. (j), effective May 24, 2011.

(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)