16-624. Disposition of official returns and ballots

A. After the canvass has been completed, the officer in charge of elections shall deposit the package or envelope containing the ballots in a secure facility managed by the county treasurer, who shall keep it unopened and unaltered for twenty-four months for elections for a federal office or for six months for all other elections, at which time he shall destroy it without opening or examining the contents.

B. Irregular ballots shall be preserved for six months after the election and the packages containing them may be opened and the contents examined only upon an order of court. At the expiration of such time, the ballots may be disposed of in the discretion of the officer or board having charge of them.

C. The officer in charge of elections shall produce the other packages or envelopes before the board of supervisors when it is in session for the purpose of canvassing the returns.

D. If a recount is ordered or a contest begun within six months, the county treasurer may be ordered by the court to deliver to it the packages or envelopes containing the ballots, and thereupon they shall be in the custody and control of the court.