A measure aimed at providing consistency and fairness in election policy received a favorable recommendation Thursday from the House Government Operations Committee. HB85 would amend the state election code by changing the formula for determining when a voting recount may be requested by a losing candidate. Currently, a recount can be called for if a candidate loses by less than one vote per precinct. The proposed legislation, sponsored Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, would change the recount criteria to 0.25 percent of total number of votes cast.
When asked by the committee about the impetus of the bill, Hall said upon learning of the “arbitrary” requirement of a candidate losing by one vote per precinct to request a recount, he felt compelled to develop a standard that would provide increased fairness in the voting process. He noted that in researching similar laws in other states, the 0.25 percent criteria was the generally accepted standard.
In November, Republican Mia Love fell just 768 votes shy of defeating Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson in Utah’s new 4th District. Under current state law, Love would have had to come within 488 votes to force a recount. Under the proposed law, a 597-vote margin would have allowed for a recount.