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Florida > The Florida Election Code > Voting Methods And Procedure

§ 101.5605 Examination and approval of equipment.

Overview of Statute

This statute governs the examination and approval of voting systems. The Department of State is responsible for publicly examining all voting systems submitted to it to determine whether they comply with the Code. Anyone who owns a voting system can submit it to the Department of State for examination. The Department has 90 days to approve or disapprove all voting systems submitted to it. Before the Department approves voting systems, the person who submitted it needs to provide the information of a registered agent in the state. The statute then provides an overview of the details of entering into contracts for the sale or lease of voting systems.

Statute

(1) The Department of State shall publicly examine all makes of electronic or electromechanical voting systems submitted to it and determine whether the systems comply with the requirements of s. 101.5606.

(2)
(a) Any person owning or interested in an electronic or electromechanical voting system may submit it to the Department of State for examination. The vote counting segment shall be certified after a satisfactory evaluation testing has been performed according to the standards adopted under s. 101.015(1). This testing shall include, but is not limited to, testing of all software required for the voting system’s operation; the ballot reader; the rote processor, especially in its logic and memory components; the digital printer; the fail-safe operations; the counting center environmental requirements; and the equipment reliability estimate. For the purpose of assisting in examining the system, the department shall employ or contract for services of at least one individual who is expert in one or more fields of data processing, mechanical engineering, and public administration and shall require from the individual a written report of his or her examination.
(b) The person submitting a system for approval or the board of county commissioners of any county seeking approval of a given system shall reimburse the Department of State in an amount equal to the actual costs incurred by the department in examining the system. Such reimbursement shall be made whether or not the system is approved by the department.
(c) Neither the Secretary of State nor any examiner shall have any pecuniary interest in any voting equipment.
(d) The Department of State shall approve or disapprove any voting system submitted to it within 90 days after the date of its initial submission.
(3)
(a) Before the Department of State approves the electronic or electromechanical voting system, the person who submitted it for examination shall provide the department with the name, mailing address, and telephone number of a registered agent, which agent must have and continuously maintain an office in this state. Any change in the name, address, or telephone number of the registered agent shall promptly be made known to the department.
(b) Before entering into a contract for the sale or lease of a voting system approved under this section to any county, the person entering into such contract shall provide the department with the name, mailing address, and telephone number of a registered agent, which agent must have and continuously maintain an office in this state. Any change in the name, address, or telephone number of the registered agent shall promptly be made known to the department.
(c) The department’s proof of delivery or attempted delivery to the last mailing address of the registered agent on file with the department at the time of delivery or attempted delivery is valid for all notice purposes.
(d) Within 30 days after completing the examination and upon approval of any electronic or electromechanical voting system, the Department of State shall make and maintain a report on the system, together with a written or printed description and drawings and photographs clearly identifying the system and the operation thereof. As soon as practicable after such filing, the department shall send a notice of certification and, upon request, a copy of the report to the governing bodies of the respective counties of the state. Any voting system that does not receive the approval of the department may not be adopted for or used at any election.
(e) After a voting system has been approved by the Department of State, any change or improvement in the system is required to be approved by the department prior to the adoption of such change or improvement by any county. If any such change or improvement does not comply with the requirements of this act, the department shall suspend all sales of the equipment or system in the state until the equipment or system complies with the requirements of this act.
(4) The Department of State may at any time reexamine any system, or any part thereof, which has previously been approved for the purpose of updating the certification of the system.

History:

s. 5, ch. 73-156; s. 21, ch. 77-175; s. 9, ch. 84-302; s. 12, ch. 85-80; s. 9, ch. 89-348; s. 577, ch. 95-147; s. 31, ch. 2011-40; s. 7, ch. 2013-57.

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 [Voting Equipment]

As used in ss. 101.292-101.295, “voting equipment” means electronic or electromechanical voting systems, voting devices, and automatic tabulating equipment as defined in s. 101.5603, as well as materials, parts, or other equipment necessary for the operation and maintenance of such systems and devices, the individual or combined retail value of which is in excess of the threshold amount for CATEGORY TWO purchases provided in s. 287.017. Fla. Stat. § 101.292(2).

Definition [Ballot]

As used in the Electronic Voting Systems Act, ballot means the card, tape, or other vehicle upon which the elector’s choices are recorded. Fla. Stat. § 101.5603(2).

Definition [Person]

An individual or a corporation, association, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint stock company, club, organization, estate, trust, business trust, syndicate, or other combination of individuals having collective capacity. The term includes a political party, affiliated party committee, or political committee. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(14).

Definition [Election]

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

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: 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.

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Case Name: Florida Democratic Party v. Hood

Citation: 342 F.Supp.2d 1073

Federal District Court: Northern District of Florida

Year: 2004

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/f8ed406a86e6040346d1c9bb29736aaa?query=Florida[...]

Case Summary: Florida Democratic Party v. Hood held that the Florida Democratic Party had standing to sue on behalf of voters who would be denied the chance to cast provisional ballots; that HAVA did not require ballots cast in wrong precincts to be counted; that HAVA did require that voters who thought they were registered be given the chance to cast provisional ballots; and that requirements for issuing a preliminary injunction requiring the distribution of provisional ballots were satisfied, after the Party sued Florida, seeking a preliminary injunction preventing election workers from denying provisional ballots to prospective voters who they believed were not registered.

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.

Regulations & Guidance

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 148, Adoption and approval of system

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 148.50, Defects