The 2nd Congressional District Republican primary race between Rep. Celeste Maloy and Colby Jenkins is headed toward a recount in the final week of July.

After all 13 counties in the 2nd District finalized their election returns on Tuesday night, Maloy held a lead of just 214 votes. The threshold for a losing candidate to request a recount is .25% of total votes cast, roughly 270 votes out of 107,000.

Jenkins confirmed on Wednesday morning that “following the Utah law, we will be requesting a recount on July 22nd per the law’s timeline.”

“This is a longer and more drawn out process than we had hoped, but we are duty-bound by the 53,534 voters who have voted for us to not give up the fight until every last legal vote has been tabulated,” Jenkins said in a post on X.

During a Tuesday night press conference, Maloy expressed relief that she maintained her lead two weeks after the June 25 election — “214 votes is pretty close but it’s about 213 votes more than you need to win” — and said she didn’t “anticipate that a recount will change the outcome.”

The last recount in a GOP congressional primary was almost exactly 30 years ago. The 1994 3rd District GOP primary saw Emery County Commissioner Dixie Thompson pull ahead of Provo real estate developer Tom Draschil by just 156 votes out of the 31,596 votes cast. The margin barely fell within the then-broader recount threshold of .5%. The subsequent recount extended Thompson’s lead to 185 votes.

Here is how the recount will work to decide the final outcome of the prolonged Maloy-Jenkins matchup.

Maloy ahead of Jenkins by 214 votes — recount now likely in Utah’s 2nd Congressional District race

How will a recount work in the 2nd District?

All multicounty primary races in Utah are certified by the state at noon on the fourth Monday after the election, which in this case is July 22. During the statewide canvass, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson will “verify the reports that the counties provided to us,” state elections director Ryan Cowley told the Deseret News.

Jenkins may request a recount within seven days of the statewide canvass. Once he does, Henderson’s office must direct a full recount of the race within the next seven days, meaning final results for the 2nd District race could come as late as July 29. Cowley said they are not sure exactly how many days the recount will take.

A recount involves each 2nd District county reprocessing all of their ballots. This includes retabulating every ballot that has already been counted and reexamining every ballot that has not been counted because of a signature verification failure or a late postmark. County clerks will make sure each of these rejected ballots was rightly discarded, double checking ballot signatures and postmark dates on ballots that were received by mail. Rejected ballots cannot be cured by voters during the recount process.

While this process is identical to the first count after Election Day, it will move faster because clerks will already have all of the ballots organized into batches and will not have to redo the signature verification for ballots that were counted last time. County clerks will rescan all of their countable ballots for their recount vote total. The office of the lieutenant governor does not count any ballots.

“Our office doesn’t count ballots,” Cowley said. “That’s not our job. It’s simply that oversight role. And so the clerk’s counted them originally. The clerks will recount them.”

After counties complete their recount, they will conduct an audit similar to the one that preceded the county election canvass. But instead of auditing a random 1% of ballots, a recount audit requires county election officials and members of the county canvass board to audit a random 3% of ballots, Cowley said, hand counting them and comparing them to a photo tabulation record, one ballot at a time.

The certified election returns from county officials will be the official results of the recount.

Gov. candidate Phil Lyman questioned Utah’s elections. We looked into the process

Can late postmarked ballots be counted in a recount?

The Jenkins campaign, as well as some county officials and voters in southern and rural Utah, expressed concern over a number of mail-in ballots that were allegedly put in the mail in time to be postmarked before the June 24 deadline but were then postmarked late by the U.S. Postal Service mail distribution center in Las Vegas.

Cowley said election officials want to count “every ballot that’s legally cast.” But nothing can be done if a ballot has just one clear postmark that came after the pre-Election Day deadline, even if a voter says they mailed their ballot on time.


“Unfortunately, with the way the law is written, the clerk’s have done everything they can,” Cowley said.

Mail-in ballots must be “postmarked or otherwise marked by the post office prior to Election Day,” according to state code, Cowley said. “Every way that we’ve looked at it, every way that the clerk’s have looked at it, there’s just not a path under the code or the law to be able to count those ballots.”

If a ballot carries a clear hand stamp from a local post office that falls within the deadline, the ballot will be counted, even if it also has a later postmark from Las Vegas, Cowley said.

Correction: This story previously said that the state board of canvassers, consisting of the state auditor, the state treasurer and the attorney general, will meet to certify multicounty races on July 22. The state board of canvassers only convenes after the general election, not after the primary.

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