ORS 254.529¹
Choice of conducting hand recount of ballots or risk-limiting audit
  • procedures for hand recount

(1) At each primary election, general election and special election, the county clerk shall make a determination on whether to conduct:

(a) A hand count of ballots as described in this section and compare the tally of votes for those ballots produced by a vote tally system with the tally of votes for those ballots produced by the hand count; or

(b) A risk-limiting audit in the manner described in ORS 254.532 (Risk-limiting audit).

(2) If the county clerk determines that a hand count will be conducted:

(a) In the event that the unofficial tally of ballots produced by a vote tally system reveals that the margin of victory between the two candidates receiving the largest number of votes in the county is less than one percent of the total votes cast in that election in the county, the county clerk shall conduct a hand count of ballots in at least 10 percent of all precincts or of ballots in at least 10 percent of all batches of ballots collected by the county clerk.

(b) In the event that the unofficial tally of ballots reveals that the margin of victory between the two candidates receiving the largest number of votes in the county is greater than or equal to one percent but less than two percent of the total votes cast in the county, the county clerk shall conduct a hand count of ballots in at least five percent of all precincts or of ballots in at least five percent of all batches of ballots collected by the county clerk.

(c) In the event that the unofficial tally of ballots reveals that the margin of victory between the two candidates receiving the largest number of votes in the county is greater than or equal to two percent of the total votes cast in the county, the county clerk shall conduct a hand count of ballots in at least three percent of all precincts or of ballots in at least three percent of all batches of ballots collected by the county clerk.

(3) If the county clerk determines that a hand count will be conducted, the county clerk shall conduct a hand count of ballots cast in the election contest between the two candidates receiving the largest number of votes in the county, an election contest for an office to be voted on in the state at large and, if possible, an election contest for a state measure. The Secretary of State shall select the precincts or batches at random. At the election:

(a) If selecting precincts, no fewer than 150 ballots must have been cast in at least one of the precincts selected.

(b) If selecting batches, the number of ballots contained in the batches selected must in the aggregate be equal to or greater than:

(A) Ten percent of the total number of ballots cast in the election for a hand count required under subsection (2)(a) of this section.

(B) Five percent of the total number of ballots cast in the election for a hand count required under subsection (2)(b) of this section.

(C) Three percent of the total number of ballots cast in the election for a hand count required under subsection (2)(c) of this section.

(4) Not later than 5 p.m. of the 15th business day after the date of the election, the Secretary of State shall in writing advise the county clerks who made a determination that a hand count will be conducted of:

(a) The election contests for which ballots are to be hand counted; and

(b) The precincts or batches in which ballots are to be hand counted.

(5) A county clerk shall begin the hand counts under this section not later than the 23rd day after the election and complete the hand counts not later than the 30th day after the election. The results of the hand counts shall be provided to the Secretary of State, who shall make the results publicly available on the Secretary of State’s website.

(6) A comparison of the tally of votes produced by a vote tally system with the tally of votes produced by the hand count under this section must show that the tally of votes produced by the vote tally system differs by no more than one-half of one percent from the tally of votes produced by the hand count.

(7)(a) If a hand count conducted under this section results in a tally of votes for a candidate or measure that is different from the tally of votes produced by the vote tally system for that candidate or measure, and the difference for each race is equal to or less than one-half of one percent, the tally of votes produced by the vote tally system is the official tally of votes for that vote tally system.

(b) If a hand count conducted under this section results in a tally of votes for a candidate or measure that is different from the tally of votes produced by the vote tally system for that candidate or measure, and the difference in any race is greater than one-half of one percent, the county clerk shall conduct a second hand count of the same ballots.

(c) If the second hand count conducted under this subsection results in a tally of votes for a candidate or measure that is different from the tally of votes produced by the vote tally system for that candidate or measure, and the difference for each race is equal to or less than one-half of one percent, the tally of votes produced by the vote tally system is the official tally of votes for that vote tally system.

(d) If the second hand count conducted under this subsection results in a tally of votes for a candidate or measure that is different from the tally of votes produced by the vote tally system for that candidate or measure, and the difference in any race is greater than one-half of one percent, the county clerk shall conduct a hand count of all ballots counted by that vote tally system. The hand count is the official tally of votes for that vote tally system. If the hand count is the official tally of votes, not later than the 30th day after the election, the county clerk shall certify amended abstracts of votes to appropriate elections officials.

(8) For purposes of conducting the hand counts under this section, the county clerk shall:

(a) Retain custody of the ballots; and

(b) Provide for security for the ballots and the information required to be collected under this subsection.

(9) This section does not apply:

(a) To precincts that are subject to a recount under ORS 258.161 (Filing demand for recount with Secretary of State), 258.280 (Automatic full recount required in certain elections of candidates for office) or 258.290 (Automatic full recount required in certain elections on measures).

(b) If federal law requires a post-election hand count of ballots at the primary election, general election or special election to verify election results and the Secretary of State determines that the requirements of federal law are at least as stringent as the requirements of subsections (1) to (8) of this section. [2007 c.881 §2; 2009 c.511 §11; 2017 c.749 §42; 2019 c.562 §3]

Note: Section 5, chapter 562, Oregon Laws 2019, provides:

Sec. 5. Section 2 of this 2019 Act [254.532 (Risk-limiting audit)] and the amendments to ORS 254.529 (Choice of conducting hand recount of ballots or risk-limiting audit) and 254.535 (Preservation of certain materials) by sections 3 and 4 of this 2019 Act apply to primary elections, general elections and special elections held on or after September 1, 2020. [2019 c.562 §5]

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 254—Conduct of Elections, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors254.­html (2019) (last ac­cessed May 16, 2020).
 
2 OregonLaws.org contains the con­tents of Volume 21 of the ORS, inserted along­side the per­tin­ent statutes. See the preface to the ORS An­no­ta­tions for more information.
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent. Currency Information