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Florida > The Florida Election Code > Voting Methods And Procedure

§ 101.591 Voting system audit.

Overview of Statute

This statute governs the process by which the county canvassing boards audit the voting systems after every election. The boards must conduct either a manual audit or an automated audit right after finishing the certification of the election. Manual audits involve a public, manual counting of the votes cast in one race on the ballot. The automated audit involves a public, automated count of the votes in every race on the ballot. The division of elections is responsible for adopting rules to approve the audit system. The county canvassing boards have 15 days after finishing the audit to send the Department of State a report that includes the results of the audit.

Statute

(1) Immediately following the certification of each election, the county canvassing board or the local board responsible for certifying the election shall conduct a manual audit or an automated, independent audit of the voting systems used in randomly selected precincts.

(2)
(a) A manual audit shall consist of a public manual tally of the votes cast in one randomly selected race that appears on the ballot. The tally sheet shall include election-day, vote-by-mail, early voting, provisional, and overseas ballots, in at least 1 percent but no more than 2 percent of the precincts chosen at random by the county canvassing board or the local board responsible for certifying the election. If 1 percent of the precincts is less than one entire precinct, the audit shall be conducted using at least one precinct chosen at random by the county canvassing board or the local board responsible for certifying the election. Such precincts shall be selected at a publicly noticed canvassing board meeting.
(b) An automated audit shall consist of a public automated tally of the votes cast across every race that appears on the ballot. The tally sheet shall include election day, vote-by-mail, early voting, provisional, and overseas ballots in at least 20 percent of the precincts chosen at random by the county canvassing board or the local board responsible for certifying the election. Such precincts shall be selected at a publicly noticed canvassing board meeting.

(c) The division shall adopt rules for approval of an independent audit system which provide that the system, at a minimum, must be:

1. Completely independent of the primary voting system.
2. Fast enough to produce final audit results within the timeframe prescribed in subsection (4).
3. Capable of demonstrating that the ballots of record have been accurately adjudicated by the audit system.
(3) The canvassing board shall post a notice of the audit, including the date, time, and place, in four conspicuous places in the county and on the home page of the county supervisor of elections website.
(4) The audit must be completed and the results made public no later than 11:59 p.m. on the 7th day following certification of the election by the county canvassing board or the local board responsible for certifying the election.

(5) Within 15 days after completion of the audit, the county canvassing board or the board responsible for certifying the election shall provide a report with the results of the audit to the Department of State in a standard format as prescribed by the department. The report shall contain, but is not limited to, the following items:

(a) The overall accuracy of audit.
(b) A description of any problems or discrepancies encountered.
(c) The likely cause of such problems or discrepancies.
(d) Recommended corrective action with respect to avoiding or mitigating such circumstances in future elections.
(6) If a manual recount is undertaken pursuant to s. 102.166, the canvassing board is not required to perform the audit provided for in this section.

History:

s. 14, ch. 89-348; s. 41, ch. 97-13; s. 8, ch. 2007-30; s. 36, ch. 2011-40; s. 10, ch. 2013-57; s. 14, ch. 2016-37.

Annotation: February 16, 2016 1:43 pm

Although the audit is conducted after the certification of official results, the audit results are made public prior to end of the contest period. If the audit shows a discrepancy sufficient to change the outcome of the election, there is still sufficient time to contest the election pursuant to s. 102.168, F.S.

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 [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).

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.

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Regulations & Guidance

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 145, Audits and manual recounts