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florida > The Florida Election Code > Voting Methods And Procedure

§ 101.56062 Standards for accessible voting systems.

Overview of Statute

This statute outlines the standards required for all voting systems to be accessible. The statute then details the mandatory size standards for voting booths in inches. It also provides 13 functionalities for audio ballots that allow voters to cast their votes accurately.

Statute

(1) Notwithstanding anything in this chapter to the contrary, each voting system certified by the Department of State for use in local, state, and federal elections must include the capability to install accessible voter interface devices in the system configuration which will allow the system to meet the following minimum standards:

(a) The voting system must provide a tactile input or audio input device, or both.
(b) The voting system must provide a method by which voters can confirm any tactile or audio input by having the capability of audio output using synthetic or recorded human speech that is reasonably phonetically accurate.
(c) Any operable controls on the input device which are needed for voters who are visually impaired must be discernible tactilely without actuating the keys.
(d) Audio and visual access approaches must be able to work both separately and simultaneously.
(e) If a nonaudio access approach is provided, the system may not require color perception. The system must use black text or graphics, or both, on white background or white text or graphics, or both, on black background, unless the office of the Secretary of State approves other high-contrast color combinations that do not require color perception.
(f) Any voting system that requires any visual perception must offer the election official who programs the system, prior to its being sent to the polling place, the capability to set the font size, as it appears to the voter, from a minimum of 14 points to a maximum of 24 points.
(g) The voting system must provide audio information, including any audio output using synthetic or recorded human speech or any auditory feedback tones that are important for the use of the audio approach, through at least one mode, by handset or headset, in enhanced auditory fashion (increased amplification), and must provide incremental volume control with output amplification up to a level of at least 97 dB SPL.
(h) For transmitted voice signals to the voter, the voting system must provide a gain adjustable up to a minimum of 20 dB with at least one intermediate step of 12 dB of gain.
(i) For the safety of others, if the voting system has the possibility of exceeding 120 dB SPL, then a mechanism must be included to reset the volume automatically to the voting system’s default volume level after every use, for example when the handset is replaced, but not before. Also, universal precautions in the use and sharing of headsets should be followed.
(j) If sound cues and audible information such as “beeps” are used, there must be simultaneous corresponding visual cues and information.
(k) Controls and operable mechanisms must be operable with one hand, including operability with a closed fist, and operable without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist.
(l) The force required to operate or activate the controls must be no greater than 5 pounds of force.
(m) Voting booths must have voting controls at a minimum height of 36 inches above the finished floor with a minimum knee clearance of 27 inches high, 30 inches wide, and 19 inches deep, or the accessible voter interface devices must be designed so as to allow their use on top of a table to meet these requirements. Tabletop installations must include adequate privacy.

(n) Any audio ballot must provide the voter with the following functionalities:

1. After the initial instructions that the system requires election officials to provide to each voter, the voter should be able to independently operate the voter interface through the final step of casting a ballot without assistance.
2. The voter must be able to determine the races that he or she is allowed to vote in and to determine which candidates are available in each race.
3. The voter must be able to determine how many candidates may be selected in each race.
4. The voter must be able to have confidence that the physical or vocal inputs given to the system have selected the candidates that he or she intended to select.
5. The voter must be able to review the candidate selections that he or she has made.
6. Prior to the act of casting the ballot, the voter must be able to change any selections previously made and confirm a new selection.
7. The system must communicate to the voter the fact that the voter has failed to vote in a race or has failed to vote the number of allowable candidates in any race and require the voter to confirm his or her intent to undervote before casting the ballot.
8. The system must prevent the voter from overvoting any race.
9. The voter must be able to input a candidate’s name in each race that allows a write-in candidate.
10. The voter must be able to review his or her write-in input to the interface, edit that input, and confirm that the edits meet the voter’s intent.
11. There must be a clear, identifiable action that the voter takes to “cast” the ballot. The system must make clear to the voter how to take this action so that the voter has minimal risk of taking the action accidentally but, when the voter intends to cast the ballot, the action can be easily performed.
12. Once the ballot is cast, the system must confirm to the voter that the action has occurred and that the voter’s process of voting is complete.
13. Once the ballot is cast, the system must preclude the voter from modifying the ballot cast or voting or casting another ballot.

The functionalities required in this paragraph for certification may be satisfied by either the voting device or by the entire voting system.

(2) Such voting system must include at least one accessible voter interface device installed in each polling place which meets the requirements of this section, except for paragraph (1)(d).

History:

s. 12, ch. 2002-281; s. 34, ch. 2005-278; s. 1, ch. 2006-111; s. 27, ch. 2012-116.

Definition [Polling Place]

The building which contains the polling room where ballots are cast. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(27).

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 Device]

As used in the Electronic Voting Systems Act, voting device means an apparatus by which votes are registered electronically.

Definition [Voter Interface Device]

Any device that communicates voting instructions and ballot information to a voter and allows the voter to select and vote for candidates and issues.

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 [Election]

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

Definition [Candidate]

Any person to whom any one or more of the following applies:

(a) Any person who seeks to qualify for nomination or election by means of the petitioning process.
(b) Any person who seeks to qualify for election as a write-in candidate.
(c) Any person who receives contributions or makes expenditures, or gives his or her consent for any other person to receive contributions or make expenditures, with a view to bringing about his or her nomination or election to, or retention in, public office.
(d) Any person who appoints a treasurer and designates a primary depository.
(e) Any person who files qualification papers and subscribes to a candidate’s oath as required by law.
This definition does not include any candidate for a political party executive committee. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(6).
Definition [Undervote]

The elector does not properly designate any choice for an office or ballot question, and the tabulator records no vote for the office or question. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(39).

Cases

florida Cases

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Case Name: American Ass’n of People with Disabilities v. Hood

Citation: 278 F. Supp. 2d 1345

Federal District Court: Middle District of Florida

Year: 2003

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/4355762ee3979182fef18f7836e2ce38

Case Summary: American Ass'n of People with Disabilities v. Hood held that the state had certified equipment that would allow visually impaired voters to vote without assistance from a third party.

Regulations & Guidance

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 144, Generally

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 155, Provisional ballots

  • Electronic Voting Systems, 12 A.L.R.6th 523