Topics
Code Section
florida > The Florida Election Code > Voting Methods And Procedure

§ 101.6103 Mail ballot election procedure.

Overview of Statute

This statute provides an overview of the procedure used to conduct a mail ballot election. The supervisor of elections is responsible for mailing all ballots with secrecy envelopes, return envelopes, and instructions no earlier than the 20th day before the election and no later than the 10th day before the election. The statute then provides the required circumstances for counting the ballots, and the procedures required for collecting votes from voters who live overseas, but who are eligible to vote in the mail ballot election. Finally, if the voter dies after mailing the ballot, it can still be counted as long as it was postmarked before the voter died.

Statute

(1) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (7), the supervisor of elections shall mail all official ballots with a secrecy envelope, a return mailing envelope, and instructions sufficient to describe the voting process to each elector entitled to vote in the election not sooner than the 20th day before the election and not later than the 10th day before the date of the election. All such ballots shall be mailed by first-class mail. Ballots shall be addressed to each elector at the address appearing in the registration records and placed in an envelope which is prominently marked “Do Not Forward.”

(2) Upon receipt of the ballot the elector shall mark the ballot, place it in the secrecy envelope, sign the return mailing envelope supplied with the ballot, and comply with the instructions provided with the ballot. The elector shall mail, deliver, or have delivered the marked ballot so that it reaches the supervisor of elections no later than 7 p.m. on the day of the election. The ballot must be returned in the return mailing envelope.

(3) The return mailing envelope shall contain a statement in substantially the following form:

VOTER’S CERTIFICATE

I,   (Print Name)  , do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I am a qualified voter in this election and that I have not and will not vote more than one ballot in this election.

I understand that failure to sign this certificate and give my residence address will invalidate my ballot.

  (Signature)  

  (Residence Address)  

(4) If the ballot is destroyed, spoiled, lost, or not received by the elector, the elector may obtain a replacement ballot from the supervisor of elections as provided in this subsection. An elector seeking a replacement ballot shall sign a sworn statement that the ballot was destroyed, spoiled, lost, or not received and present such statement to the supervisor of elections prior to 7 p.m. on the day of the election. The supervisor of elections shall keep a record of each replacement ballot provided under this subsection.

(5) A ballot shall be counted only if:

(a) It is returned in the return mailing envelope;
(b) The elector’s signature has been verified as provided in this subsection; and
(c) It is received by the supervisor of elections not later than 7 p.m. on the day of the election.

The supervisor of elections shall verify the signature of each elector on the return mailing envelope with the signature on the elector’s registration records. Such verification may commence at any time prior to the canvass of votes. The supervisor of elections shall safely keep the ballot unopened in his or her office until the county canvassing board canvasses the vote. If the supervisor of elections determines that an elector to whom a replacement ballot has been issued under subsection (4) has voted more than once, the canvassing board shall determine which ballot, if any, is to be counted.

(6) The canvassing board may begin the canvassing of mail ballots at 7 a.m. on the sixth day before the election, including processing the ballots through the tabulating equipment. However, results may not be released until after 7 p.m. on election day. Any canvassing board member or election employee who releases any result before 7 p.m. on election day commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(7) With respect to absent electors overseas entitled to vote in the election, the supervisor of elections shall mail an official ballot with a secrecy envelope, a return mailing envelope, and instructions sufficient to describe the voting process to each such elector on a date sufficient to allow such elector time to vote in the election and to have his or her marked ballot reach the supervisor by 7 p.m. on the day of the election.

(8) A ballot that otherwise satisfies the requirements of subsection (5) shall be counted even if the elector dies after mailing the ballot but before election day, as long as, prior to the death of the voter, the ballot was:

(a) Postmarked by the United States Postal Service;
(b) Date-stamped with a verifiable tracking number by common carrier; or
(c) Already in the possession of the supervisor of elections.

History:

s. 1, ch. 87-364; s. 585, ch. 95-147; s. 42, ch. 2005-277; s. 29, ch. 2007-30.

Definition [Absent Elector]

Any registered and qualified voter who casts an absentee ballot.

Definition [Secrecy Envelope]

As used in the Electronic Voting Systems Act, secrecy envelope means an opaque device, used for enclosing a marked ballot, which conceals the voter’s choices.

Definition [Issue]

A proposition that is required by the State Constitution, by law or resolution of the Legislature, or by the charter, ordinance, or resolution of a political subdivision of this state to be submitted to the electors for their approval or rejection at an election, or a proposition for which a petition is circulated in order to have such proposition placed on the ballot at an election. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(13).

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 [Elector]

“Elector” is synonymous with the word “voter” or “qualified elector or voter,” except where the word is used to describe presidential electors. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(15).

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

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 171, Conduct of election

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 172, Replacement ballot

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 173, Canvassing

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 174, Verification of signature

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 180, Powers and duties of canvassing commission and boards, generally

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 225, Offenses of officials connected with elections

  • 0050 Surveys 8; Marking and Counting of Ballots