Because of the infrequency of recounts and the lack of judicial institutional knowledge, a plain-English guide is needed to assist judges and attorneys involved in recounts. The purpose of this essay is to provide such a guide as a resource for future Virginia recounts. Part I outlines the process of a recount and discusses how a recount differs from an election contest. Part I also briefly discusses the history of election recounts in Virginia, highlighting the two most recent state-wide recounts, Deeds and Obenshain. Part II delves more deeply into the primary issues encountered by the three-judge panel in Obenshain, including discovery and access to electoral materials, the roles of those involved directly in the physical recount, and the method of ballot challenges. Finally, Part III discusses how recounts may influence trends in election law and how other seemingly unrelated trends affect recounts themselves. This essay ponders the effect of litigation on the parties' confidence in the recount process, as well as the effect of recount results on voter confidence in the electoral process.

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Co-authored with the Honorable Beverly Snukals.

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