With New Jersey governor election results too close to call, here’s how recounts work in the Garden State

New Jersey governor’s election was supposed to be a blowout: ‘No one expected this’ The New Jersey governor’s race remained too close to call early Wednesday morning as Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli held a narrow lead over incumbent Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy , meaning that no matter who ends up in front once all votes are counted, the other side will want to challenge the outcome.

So how do recounts work in New Jersey? While some states have automatic recounts that are triggered by slim margins between candidates, the Garden State does not – it does, however, allow candidates to challenge results on a county-by-county basis.


"When any candidate at any election shall have reason to believe that an error has been made in counting the votes of that election, the candidate may, within a period of 17 days following such election, apply to a judge of the Superior Court assigned to the county wherein such district or districts are located, for a recount of the votes cast at the election in any district or districts," New Jersey law says. Jack Ciattarelli, Republican candidate for governor of New Jersey, speaks during an election night event in Bridgewater Township, New Jersey, onn Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. Ciattarelli is locked in a tight race with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who is bidding for a second term. (Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images) (Getty) How does it work?

The recount itself would be conducted by a county board under the judge’s direction. The county board has the power to subpoena district board members to provide any necessary documents or other materials, and to be present for the opening of the ballot boxes. The county board can also have the district board members testify, if needed. Should there be any disputes, the county board can vote on them, but if the issue cannot be settled with a majority vote, the judge overseeing the recount would decide the matter.

Who pays for it?

Should a judge grant an application for a recount, the candidate has to pay a deposit for each district being recounted. The deposit amounts are based on the number of votes, but capped at $25 per district.

Should the recount result in a different outcome, or if it results in a change of at least 10 votes or 10% of the votes cast (whichever is greater), the government will pay the costs and the deposits will be refunded. Otherwise, the recount costs will be deducted from the deposits.

ELECTION DAY: NEW JERSEY’S GOVERNOR’S RACE TOO CLOSE TO CALL: LIVE UPDATES Phil Murphy, governor of New Jersey, exits after speaking during an election night event in Asbury Park, New Jersey, on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. (Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images) (Getty) What happens if there is a different outcome?

If the election has already been certified before the recount, and the recount shows that there is a new winner or a tie, the judge will […]

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