Governor Election Results
Reuters and The Associated Press traditionally make official calls on winners based on current governor voting results and news anchors announce live following their lead. Most governor elections occur during midterms or off off years while around 11 occur during Presidential election years. Georgia and Louisiana hold runoff elections if no candidate received fifty percent of the vote in the general election and so the top two candidates are announced instead.
Unlike in Federal elections, many states governor races are competitive and can have parties change control more easily than they do in federal elections. For example, a state that consistently votes to send Democratic Senators to Congress may at the same time elect a Republican governor and vice versa.
States that allow early and absentee votes to be counted before election day will often declare a winner on election night if the voting results aren't too close, but states that don't begin counting votes cast early until election day sometimes need additional time before they can officially announce a winner.
Quality Real Time Governor Election Results Publications:
The Associated Press
New York Times
Early, Absentee, and Mail-in Voting
Thirty-eight states have some form of early voting and five states vote exclusively by mail.
Individuals states are able to determine whether or not they will allow early voting and who is eligible to cast their ballot early. Many states allow early voting for any reason while others require voters to receive permission before being able to do so.
A number of states count and tally early votes before election day, but some states do not begin to process early ballots until election day. Those who wait until election day may sometimes take longer to count all votes compared to the states who begin to tally them early.
Declaring Governor Election Winners
A winner is declared in a state when it is clear a candidate has or will have more votes than any other candidate in the state in every state other than Georgia and Louisiana, who require a candidate to win fifty percent of the vote before they will be declared the winner. Typically the winner of a state will be called by The Associated Press and/or Reuters and then relayed to the American people by media outlets.
If a governor voting result is too close to call then most states give the losing candidate an opportunity to request a partial or full recount. While exceedingly rare, there have been times a recount has reversed the initial voting result, most recently in the state of Washington in 2004 when Christine Gregoire initially trailed Dino Rossi by 261 votes but came out ahead by a razor thin 129 votes after a statewide recount.
The candidate requesting the recount is typically required to submit a deposit toward the cost of conducting the recount, which is then refunded if the recount reverses the result of the election. If a recount does not change the results then the candidate who asked for the recount is required to pay most, if not all, of the costs associated with the recount.
Other states have automatic recounts when the election result between the top two candidates is within a certain percentage. In these cases, the state covers all costs associated with the recount.
In the vast majority of elections, governor voting results are won by a wide enough margin that a recount is not necessary.