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florida > The Florida Election Code > Voting Methods And Procedure

§ 101.015 Standards for voting systems.

Overview of Statute

This statute governs the minimum standards required for hardware and software for voting systems. These standards must include: functional requirements, performance levels, physical and design characteristics, documentation requirements, and evaluation criteria. In every odd numbered year, the Department of State must review the standards and certification of voting systems, and is also responsible for adopting rules to maintain the correctness, impartiality, and efficiency of the procedures of voting, as well as rules establishing minimum security standards for voting systems. Supervisors of elections are responsible for writing procedures to assure accuracy and security in his or her county, and is responsible for submitting revision to the security procedures to the Department of State by the 45th day before early voting.

Statute

(1) The Department of State shall adopt rules which establish minimum standards for hardware and software for electronic and electromechanical voting systems. Such rules shall contain standards for:

(a) Functional requirements;
(b) Performance levels;
(c) Physical and design characteristics;
(d) Documentation requirements; and
(e) Evaluation criteria.
(2) Each odd-numbered year the Department of State shall review the rules governing standards and certification of voting systems to determine the adequacy and effectiveness of such rules in assuring that elections are fair and impartial.
(3) The Department of State shall adopt rules to achieve and maintain the maximum degree of correctness, impartiality, and efficiency of the procedures of voting, including write-in voting, and of counting, tabulating, and recording votes by voting systems used in this state.
(4)
(a) The Department of State shall adopt rules establishing minimum security standards for voting systems.
(b) Each supervisor of elections shall establish written procedures to assure accuracy and security in his or her county, including procedures related to early voting pursuant to s. 101.657. Such procedures shall be reviewed in each odd-numbered year by the Department of State.
(c) Each supervisor of elections shall submit any revisions to the security procedures to the Department of State at least 45 days before early voting commences pursuant to s. 101.657 in an election in which they are to take effect.

(5)

(a) The Department of State shall adopt rules which establish standards for provisional approval of hardware and software for innovative use of electronic and electromechanical voting systems. Such rules shall contain standards for:

1. Functional requirements;
2. Performance levels;
3. Physical and design characteristics;
4. Documentation requirements;
5. Evaluation criteria;
6. Audit capabilities; and
7. Consideration of prior use of a system.
(b) A voting system shall be provisionally approved for a total of no more than 2 years, and the Department of State has the authority to revoke such approval. Provisional approval of a system shall not be granted by the Department of State to supersede certification requirements of this section.
(c)
1. No provisionally approved system may be used in any election, including any municipal election, without the authorization of the Department of State.
2. An application for use of a provisionally approved system shall be submitted at least 120 days prior to the intended use by the supervisor of elections or municipal elections official. Such application shall request authorization for use of the system in a specific election. Each application shall state the election, the number of precincts, and the number of anticipated voters for which the system is requested for use.
3. The Department of State shall authorize or deny authorization of the use of the provisionally approved system for the specific election and shall notify the supervisor of elections or municipal elections official in writing of the authorization or denial of authorization, along with the reasons therefor, within 45 days after receipt of the application.
(d) A contract for the use of a provisionally approved system for a specific election may be entered into with the approval of the Department of State. No contract for title to a provisionally approved system may be entered into.
(e) The use of any provisionally approved system shall be valid for all purposes.
(6) All electronic and electromechanical voting systems purchased on or after January 1, 1990, must meet the minimum standards established under subsection (1). All electronic and electromechanical voting systems in use on or after July 1, 1993, must meet the minimum standards established under subsection (1) or subsection (5).
(7) The Division of Elections shall review the voting systems certification standards and ensure that new technologies are available for selection by boards of county commissioners which meet the requirements for voting systems and meet user standards. The Division of Elections shall continuously review the voting systems certification standards to ensure that new technologies are appropriately certified for all elections in a timely manner. The division shall also develop methods to determine the will of the public with respect to voting systems.

History:

s. 4, ch. 89-348; s. 16, ch. 90-315; s. 551, ch. 95-147; s. 6, ch. 2001-40; s. 10, ch. 2004-252.

Definition [Early Voting]

Casting a ballot prior to election day at a location designated by the supervisor of elections and depositing the voted ballot in the tabulation system. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(9).

Definition [Voting System]
A method of casting and processing votes that functions wholly or partly by use of electromechanical or electronic apparatus or by use of marksense ballots and includes, but is not limited to, the procedures for casting and processing votes and the programs, operating manuals, supplies, printouts, and other software necessary for the system’s operation. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(45).
Definition [Election]

Any primary election, special primary election, special election, general election, or presidential preference primary election. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(12).

Definition [Purchase]

As used in ss. 101.292-101.295, “purchase” means a contract for the purchase, lease, rental, or other acquisition of voting equipment. Fla. Stat. § 101.292(3).

Definition [Software]

As used in the Electronic Voting Systems Act, software means the programs and routines used to employ and control the capabilities of data processing hardware, including, without limitation, operating systems, compilers, assemblers, utilities, library routines, maintenance routines, applications, and computer networking programs. Fla. Stat. § 101.5603(7).

Cases

florida Cases

Case Name: Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections, Inc. v. Browning

Citation: 28 So.3d 880

Year: 2010

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/d7674593077064c593b61614ebd3b14a

Case Summary: Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections, Inc. v. Browning held that the state’s Election Code does not preempt the field of election law.

Case Name: Wexler v. Lepore

Citation: 878 So.2d 1276

Year: 2004

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/a64f9a0c363eae4d70f7c6981b8b7616

Case Summary: Wexler v. Lepore held that the Secretary of State had statutory authority under the Electronic Voting Rights Act to handle how recounts would be conducted. As such, Weller's suit was dismissed.

Case Name: Gore v. Harris

Citation: 773 So.2d 524

Year: 2000

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/16990a46dcc2ad479b9eeb904e277a45

Case Summary: Gore v. Harris held that because adequate standards for a manual recount could not be developed by the deadline set by the United States Supreme Court, appellants Gore and Lieberman were given no relief.

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Case Name: Wexler v. Lepore (federal)

Citation: 342 F. Supp. 2d 1097

Federal District Court: Southern District of Florida

Year: 2004

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/d62da39f2d02d9313ee18e623a681e91

Case Summary: Wexler v. Lepore held that Florida's updated standards for manual recounts in counties that used touchscreen or optical scan systems complied with the 5th and 14th Amendments' equal protection requirements because the standards were uniform and non-differential.

Case Name: Bush v. Gore

Citation: 531 U.S. 98

Federal District Court: Eastern District of Virginia

Year: 2000

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/ffe23a532d148e534fb47425579e2894?query=531%20U[...]

Case Summary: Bush v. Gore held that Florida's recount procedures were inconsistent with the minimum procedures necessary to protect the fundamental right of each voter in the instance of a statewide recount under the authority of a single state judicial officer.

Regulations & Guidance