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The 2014 Florida Statutes

Title IX
ELECTORS AND ELECTIONS
Chapter 102
CONDUCTING ELECTIONS AND ASCERTAINING THE RESULTS
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CHAPTER 102
CHAPTER 102
CONDUCTING ELECTIONS AND ASCERTAINING THE RESULTS
102.012 Inspectors and clerks to conduct elections.
102.014 Poll worker recruitment and training.
102.021 Compensation of inspectors, clerks, and deputy sheriffs.
102.031 Maintenance of good order at polls; authorities; persons allowed in polling rooms and early voting areas; unlawful solicitation of voters.
102.071 Tabulation of votes and proclamation of results.
102.091 Duty of sheriff to watch for violations; appointment of special officers.
102.101 Sheriff and other officers not allowed in polling place.
102.111 Elections Canvassing Commission.
102.112 Deadline for submission of county returns to the Department of State.
102.121 Elections Canvassing Commission to issue certificates.
102.131 Returns before canvassing commission.
102.141 County canvassing board; duties.
102.151 County canvassing board to issue certificates; supervisor to give notice to Department of State.
102.155 Certificate of election.
102.166 Manual recounts of overvotes and undervotes.
102.168 Contest of election.
102.1682 Judgment of ouster; revocation of commission; judgment setting aside referendum.
102.1685 Venue.
102.169 Quo warranto not abridged.
102.171 Contest of election to Legislature.
102.012 Inspectors and clerks to conduct elections.
(1)(a) The supervisor of elections of each county, at least 20 days prior to the holding of any election, shall appoint an election board comprised of poll workers who serve as clerks or inspectors for each precinct in the county. The clerk shall be in charge of, and responsible for, seeing that the election board carries out its duties and responsibilities. Each inspector and each clerk shall take and subscribe to an oath or affirmation, which shall be written or printed, to the effect that he or she will perform the duties of inspector or clerk of election, respectively, according to law and will endeavor to prevent all fraud, deceit, or abuse in conducting the election. The oath may be taken before an officer authorized to administer oaths or before any of the persons who are to act as inspectors, one of them to swear the others, and one of the others sworn thus, in turn, to administer the oath to the one who has not been sworn. The oaths shall be returned with the poll list and the returns of the election to the supervisor. In all questions that may arise before the members of an election board, the decision of a majority of them shall decide the question. The supervisor of elections of each county shall be responsible for the attendance and diligent performance of his or her duties by each clerk and inspector.
(b) If two or more precincts share the same building and voting place, the supervisor of elections may appoint one election board for the collocated precincts. The supervisor shall provide that a sufficient number of poll workers are appointed to adequately handle the processing of the voters in the collocated precincts.
(2) Each member of the election board shall be able to read and write the English language and shall be a registered qualified elector of the county in which the member is appointed or a person who has preregistered to vote, pursuant to s. 97.041(1)(b), in the county in which the member is appointed. No election board shall be composed solely of members of one political party; however, in any primary in which only one party has candidates appearing on the ballot, all clerks and inspectors may be of that party. Any person whose name appears as an opposed candidate for any office shall not be eligible to serve on an election board.
(3) The supervisor shall furnish inspectors of election for each precinct with the list of registered voters for that precinct. The supervisor shall also furnish to the inspectors of election at the polling place at each precinct in the supervisor’s county a sufficient number of forms and blanks for use on election day.
(4) The election board of each precinct shall attend the polling place by 6 a.m. of the day of the election and shall arrange the furniture, stationery, and voting equipment. The election board shall conduct the voting, beginning and closing at the time set forth in s. 100.011.
History.s. 20, ch. 3879, 1889; RS 174; s. 24, ch. 4328, 1895; s. 8, ch. 4537, 1897; GS 205; RGS 249; s. 1, ch. 8587, 1921; CGL 305; s. 2, ch. 17898, 1937; s. 2, ch. 25384, 1949; s. 6, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 38, ch. 28156, 1953; s. 25, ch. 29934, 1955; s. 10, ch. 57-166; s. 1, ch. 63-53; s. 1, ch. 65-416; s. 1, ch. 67-168; s. 1, ch. 67-385; s. 1, ch. 73-151; s. 25, ch. 77-175; s. 43, ch. 79-400; s. 1, ch. 80-264; s. 50, ch. 81-259; s. 19, ch. 84-302; s. 1, ch. 89-46; s. 596, ch. 95-147; s. 22, ch. 98-129; s. 3, ch. 2000-249; ss. 27, 65, ch. 2001-40; s. 52, ch. 2005-277; s. 43, ch. 2005-278; s. 11, ch. 2010-167; s. 4, ch. 2011-4.
Note.Former s. 99.03.
102.014 Poll worker recruitment and training.
(1) The supervisor of elections shall conduct training for inspectors, clerks, and deputy sheriffs prior to each primary, general, and special election for the purpose of instructing such persons in their duties and responsibilities as election officials. The Division of Elections shall develop a statewide uniform training curriculum for poll workers, and each supervisor shall use such curriculum in training poll workers. A certificate may be issued by the supervisor of elections to each person completing such training. No person shall serve as an inspector, clerk, or deputy sheriff for an election unless such person has completed the training as required. A clerk may not work at the polls unless he or she demonstrates a working knowledge of the laws and procedures relating to voter registration, voting system operation, balloting and polling place procedures, and problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills.
(2) A person who has attended previous training conducted within 2 years before the election may be appointed by the supervisor to fill a vacancy on an election board. If no person with prior training is available to fill such vacancy, the supervisor of elections may fill such vacancy in accordance with the provisions of subsection (3) from among persons who have not received the training required by this section.
(3) In the case of absence or refusal to act on the part of any inspector or clerk, the supervisor shall appoint a replacement who meets the qualifications prescribed in s. 102.012(2). The inspector or clerk so appointed shall be a member of the same political party as the clerk or inspector whom he or she replaces.
(4) Each supervisor of elections shall be responsible for training inspectors and clerks, subject to the following minimum requirements:
(a) No clerk shall be entitled to work at the polls unless he or she has had a minimum of 3 hours of training prior to each election.
(b) No inspector shall work at the polls unless he or she has had a minimum of 2 hours of training prior to each election.
(5) The Department of State shall create a uniform polling place procedures manual and adopt the manual by rule. Each supervisor of elections shall ensure that the manual is available in hard copy or electronic form in every polling place. The manual shall guide inspectors, clerks, and deputy sheriffs in the proper implementation of election procedures and laws. The manual shall be indexed by subject, and written in plain, clear, unambiguous language. The manual shall provide specific examples of common problems encountered at the polls and detail specific procedures for resolving those problems. The manual shall include, without limitation:
(a) Regulations governing solicitation by individuals and groups at the polling place;
(b) Procedures to be followed with respect to voters whose names are not on the precinct register;
(c) Proper operation of the voting system;
(d) Ballot handling procedures;
(e) Procedures governing spoiled ballots;
(f) Procedures to be followed after the polls close;
(g) Rights of voters at the polls;
(h) Procedures for handling emergency situations;
(i) Procedures for dealing with irate voters;
(j) The handling and processing of provisional ballots; and
(k) Security procedures.

The Department of State shall revise the manual as necessary to address new procedures in law or problems encountered by voters and poll workers at the precincts.

(6) Supervisors of elections shall work with the business and local community to develop public-private programs to ensure the recruitment of skilled inspectors and clerks.
(7) The Department of State shall develop a mandatory, statewide, and uniform program for training poll workers on issues of etiquette and sensitivity with respect to voters having a disability. The program must be conducted locally by each supervisor of elections, and each poll worker must complete the program before working during the current election cycle. The supervisor of elections shall contract with a recognized disability-related organization, such as a center for independent living, family network on disabilities, deaf service bureau, or other such organization, to develop and assist with training the trainers in the disability sensitivity programs. The program must include actual demonstrations of obstacles confronted by disabled persons during the voting process, including obtaining access to the polling place, traveling through the polling area, and using the voting system.
History.s. 64, ch. 2001-40; s. 19, ch. 2002-17; s. 18, ch. 2002-281; s. 53, ch. 2005-277; s. 17, ch. 2005-286; s. 24, ch. 2008-95.
102.021 Compensation of inspectors, clerks, and deputy sheriffs.
(1) Each inspector and each clerk of any election and each deputy sheriff serving at a precinct shall be paid for his or her services by the supervisor of elections, and each inspector who delivers the returns to the county seat shall receive such sums as the supervisor of elections shall determine.
(2) Inspectors and clerks of election and deputy sheriffs serving at the precincts may receive compensation and travel expenses, as provided in s. 112.061, for attending the poll worker training required by s. 102.014.
History.s. 24, ch. 4328, 1895; s. 8, ch. 4537, 1897; GS 206; RGS 250; CGL 306; ss. 1, 2, ch. 20448, 1941; s. 3, ch. 25384, 1949; s. 6, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 5, ch. 63-400; s. 1, ch. 65-129; s. 25, ch. 77-175; s. 5, ch. 80-20; s. 597, ch. 95-147; s. 4, ch. 2000-249; s. 66, ch. 2001-40.
Note.Former s. 99.04.
102.031 Maintenance of good order at polls; authorities; persons allowed in polling rooms and early voting areas; unlawful solicitation of voters.
(1) Each election board shall possess full authority to maintain order at the polls and enforce obedience to its lawful commands during an election and the canvass of the votes.
(2) The sheriff shall deputize a deputy sheriff for each polling place and each early voting site who shall be present during the time the polls or early voting sites are open and until the election is completed, who shall be subject to all lawful commands of the clerk or inspectors, and who shall maintain good order. The deputy may summon assistance from among bystanders to aid him or her when necessary to maintain peace and order at the polls or early voting sites.
(3)(a) No person may enter any polling room or polling place where the polling place is also a polling room, or any early voting area during voting hours except the following:
1. Official poll watchers;
2. Inspectors;
3. Election clerks;
4. The supervisor of elections or his or her deputy;
5. Persons there to vote, persons in the care of a voter, or persons caring for such voter;
6. Law enforcement officers or emergency service personnel there with permission of the clerk or a majority of the inspectors; or
7. A person, whether or not a registered voter, who is assisting with or participating in a simulated election for minors, as approved by the supervisor of elections.
(b) The restriction in this subsection does not apply where the polling room is in an area commonly traversed by the public in order to gain access to businesses or homes or in an area traditionally utilized as a public area for discussion.
(4)(a) No person, political committee, or other group or organization may solicit voters inside the polling place or within 100 feet of the entrance to any polling place, a polling room where the polling place is also a polling room, an early voting site, or an office of the supervisor of elections where absentee ballots are requested and printed on demand for the convenience of electors who appear in person to request them. Before the opening of the polling place or early voting site, the clerk or supervisor shall designate the no-solicitation zone and mark the boundaries.
(b) For the purpose of this subsection, the terms “solicit” or “solicitation” shall include, but not be limited to, seeking or attempting to seek any vote, fact, opinion, or contribution; distributing or attempting to distribute any political or campaign material, leaflet, or handout; conducting a poll except as specified in this paragraph; seeking or attempting to seek a signature on any petition; and selling or attempting to sell any item. The terms “solicit” or “solicitation” may not be construed to prohibit exit polling.
(c) Each supervisor of elections shall inform the clerk of the area within which soliciting is unlawful, based on the particular characteristics of that polling place. The supervisor or the clerk may take any reasonable action necessary to ensure order at the polling places, including, but not limited to, having disruptive and unruly persons removed by law enforcement officers from the polling room or place or from the 100-foot zone surrounding the polling place.
(d) Except as provided in paragraph (a), the supervisor may not designate a no-solicitation zone or otherwise restrict access to any person, political committee, committee of continuous existence, candidate, or other group or organization for the purposes of soliciting voters. This paragraph applies to any public or private property used as a polling place or early voting site.
(5) No photography is permitted in the polling room or early voting area.
History.s. 58, ch. 4328, 1895; GS 237; RGS 282; CGL 338; s. 6, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 1, ch. 59-212; s. 25, ch. 77-175; s. 2, ch. 85-205; s. 4, ch. 87-184; s. 15, ch. 87-363; s. 29, ch. 89-338; s. 2, ch. 92-134; s. 598, ch. 95-147; s. 5, ch. 2000-249; s. 54, ch. 2005-277; s. 25, ch. 2008-95; s. 18, ch. 2013-37; s. 18, ch. 2013-57.
Note.Former s. 99.38.
102.071 Tabulation of votes and proclamation of results.The election board shall post at the polls, for the benefit of the public, the results of the voting for each office or other item on the ballot as the count is completed. Upon completion of all counts in all races, a certificate of the results shall be drawn up by the inspectors and clerk at each precinct upon a form provided by the supervisor of elections which shall contain the name of each person voted for, for each office, and the number of votes cast for each person for such office; and, if any question is submitted, the certificate shall also contain the number of votes cast for and against the question. The certificate shall be signed by the inspectors and clerk and shall be delivered without delay by one of the inspectors, securely sealed, to the supervisor for immediate publication. All the ballot boxes, ballots, ballot stubs, memoranda, and papers of all kinds used in the election shall also be transmitted, after being sealed by the inspectors, to the supervisor’s office. Registration books and the poll lists shall not be placed in the ballot boxes but shall be returned to the supervisor.
History.s. 30, ch. 3879, 1889; RS 184; s. 61, ch. 4328, 1895; s. 2, ch. 4699, 1899; GS 242; RGS 286; CGL 342; s. 9, ch. 25384, 1949; s. 6, ch. 26329, 1949; s. 6, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 39, ch. 28156, 1953; s. 19, ch. 73-334; s. 25, ch. 77-175; s. 45, ch. 79-400; s. 55, ch. 2005-277.
Note.Former s. 99.43.
102.091 Duty of sheriff to watch for violations; appointment of special officers.The sheriff shall exercise strict vigilance in the detection of any violations of the election laws and in apprehending the violators. The Governor may appoint special officers to investigate alleged violations of the election laws, when it is deemed necessary to see that violators of the election laws are apprehended and punished.
History.s. 6, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 3, ch. 65-129.
102.101 Sheriff and other officers not allowed in polling place.No sheriff, deputy sheriff, police officer, or other officer of the law shall be allowed within the polling place without permission from the clerk or a majority of the inspectors, except to cast his or her ballot. Upon the failure of any of said officers to comply with this provision, the clerk or the inspectors or any one of them shall make an affidavit against such officer for his or her arrest.
History.s. 58, ch. 4328, 1895; GS 239; RGS 284; CGL 340; s. 6, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 4, ch. 65-129; s. 25, ch. 77-175; s. 599, ch. 95-147.
Note.Former s. 99.41.
102.111 Elections Canvassing Commission.
(1) The Elections Canvassing Commission shall consist of the Governor and two members of the Cabinet selected by the Governor, all of whom shall serve ex officio. If a member of the commission is unable to serve for any reason, the Governor shall appoint a remaining member of the Cabinet. If there is a further vacancy, the remaining members of the commission shall agree on another elected official to fill the vacancy.
(2) The Elections Canvassing Commission shall meet at 9 a.m. on the 9th day after a primary election and at 9 a.m. on the 14th day after a general election to certify the returns of the election for each federal, state, and multicounty office. If a member of a county canvassing board that was constituted pursuant to s. 102.141 determines, within 5 days after the certification by the Elections Canvassing Commission, that a typographical error occurred in the official returns of the county, the correction of which could result in a change in the outcome of an election, the county canvassing board must certify corrected returns to the Department of State within 24 hours, and the Elections Canvassing Commission must correct and recertify the election returns as soon as practicable.
(3) The Division of Elections shall provide the staff services required by the Elections Canvassing Commission.
History.s. 35, ch. 3879, 1889; RS 189; s. 66, ch. 4328, 1895; GS 248; RGS 292; CGL 348; s. 6, ch. 26870, 1951; ss. 10, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 30, ch. 71-377; s. 2, ch. 77-122; s. 25, ch. 77-175; s. 6, ch. 82-143; s. 39, ch. 2001-40; s. 56, ch. 2005-277; s. 12, ch. 2010-167.
Note.Former s. 99.49.
102.112 Deadline for submission of county returns to the Department of State.
(1) The county canvassing board or a majority thereof shall file the county returns for the election of a federal or state officer with the Department of State immediately after certification of the election results. The returns must contain a certification by the canvassing board that the board has compared the number of persons who voted with the number of ballots counted and that the certification includes all valid votes cast in the election.
(2) Returns must be filed by 5 p.m. on the 7th day following a primary election and by noon on the 12th day following the general election. However, the Department of State may correct typographical errors, including the transposition of numbers, in any returns submitted to the Department of State pursuant to s. 102.111(2).
(3) If the returns are not received by the department by the time specified, such returns shall be ignored and the results on file at that time shall be certified by the department.
(4) If the returns are not received by the department due to an emergency, as defined in s. 101.732, the Elections Canvassing Commission shall determine the deadline by which the returns must be received.
History.s. 30, ch. 89-338; s. 7, ch. 99-140; s. 40, ch. 2001-40; s. 57, ch. 2005-277; s. 32, ch. 2007-30; s. 26, ch. 2008-95; s. 13, ch. 2010-167.
102.121 Elections Canvassing Commission to issue certificates.The Elections Canvassing Commission shall make and sign separate certificates of the result of the election for federal and state officers, which certificates shall be written and contain the total number of votes cast for each person for each office. The certificates, the one including the result of the election for presidential electors and representatives to Congress, and the other including the result of the election for state officers, shall be recorded in the Department of State in a book to be kept for that purpose.
History.s. 35, ch. 3879, 1889; RS 189; s. 66, ch. 4328, 1895; GS 250; RGS 294; CGL 350; s. 6, ch. 26870, 1951; ss. 10, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 25, ch. 77-175.
Note.Former s. 99.51.
102.131 Returns before canvassing commission.If any returns shall appear to be irregular or false so that the Elections Canvassing Commission is unable to determine the true vote for any office, nomination, constitutional amendment, or other measure presented to the electors, the commission shall so certify and shall not include the returns in its determination, canvass, and declaration. The Elections Canvassing Commission in determining the true vote shall not have authority to look beyond the county returns. The Department of State shall file in its office all the returns, together with other documents and papers received by it or the commission. The commission shall canvass the returns for presidential electors and representatives to Congress separately from their canvass of returns for state officers.
History.s. 35, ch. 3879, 1889; RS 189; s. 66, ch. 4328, 1895; GS 249; RGS 293; CGL 349; s. 6, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 5, ch. 65-129; ss. 10, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 25, ch. 77-175; s. 46, ch. 79-400.
Note.Former s. 99.50.
102.141 County canvassing board; duties.
(1) The county canvassing board shall be composed of the supervisor of elections; a county court judge, who shall act as chair; and the chair of the board of county commissioners. Alternate canvassing board members must be appointed pursuant to paragraph (e). In the event any member of the county canvassing board is unable to serve, is a candidate who has opposition in the election being canvassed, or is an active participant in the campaign or candidacy of any candidate who has opposition in the election being canvassed, such member shall be replaced as follows:
(a) If no county court judge is able to serve or if all are disqualified, the chief judge of the judicial circuit in which the county is located shall appoint as a substitute member a qualified elector of the county who is not a candidate with opposition in the election being canvassed and who is not an active participant in the campaign or candidacy of any candidate with opposition in the election being canvassed. In such event, the members of the county canvassing board shall meet and elect a chair.
(b) If the supervisor of elections is unable to serve or is disqualified, the chair of the board of county commissioners shall appoint as a substitute member a member of the board of county commissioners who is not a candidate with opposition in the election being canvassed and who is not an active participant in the campaign or candidacy of any candidate with opposition in the election being canvassed. The supervisor, however, shall act in an advisory capacity to the canvassing board.
(c) If the chair of the board of county commissioners is unable to serve or is disqualified, the board of county commissioners shall appoint as a substitute member one of its members who is not a candidate with opposition in the election being canvassed and who is not an active participant in the campaign or candidacy of any candidate with opposition in the election being canvassed.
(d) If a substitute member or alternate member cannot be appointed as provided elsewhere in this subsection, or in the event of a vacancy in such office, the chief judge of the judicial circuit in which the county is located shall appoint as a substitute member or alternate member a qualified elector of the county who is not a candidate with opposition in the election being canvassed and who is not an active participant in the campaign or candidacy of any candidate with opposition in the election being canvassed.
(e)1. The chief judge of the judicial circuit in which the county is located shall appoint a county court judge as an alternate member of the county canvassing board or, if each county court judge is unable to serve or is disqualified, shall appoint an alternate member who is qualified to serve as a substitute member under paragraph (a).
2. The chair of the board of county commissioners shall appoint a member of the board of county commissioners as an alternate member of the county canvassing board or, if each member of the board of county commissioners is unable to serve or is disqualified, shall appoint an alternate member who is qualified to serve as a substitute member under paragraph (d).
3. If a member of the county canvassing board is unable to participate in a meeting of the board, the chair of the county canvassing board or his or her designee shall designate which alternate member will serve as a member of the board in the place of the member who is unable to participate at that meeting.
4. If not serving as one of the three members of the county canvassing board, an alternate member may be present, observe, and communicate with the three members constituting the county canvassing board, but may not vote in the board’s decisions or determinations.
(2) The county canvassing board shall meet in a building accessible to the public in the county where the election occurred at a time and place to be designated by the supervisor of elections to publicly canvass the absentee electors’ ballots as provided for in s. 101.68 and provisional ballots as provided by ss. 101.048, 101.049, and 101.6925. Provisional ballots cast pursuant to s. 101.049 shall be canvassed in a manner that votes for candidates and issues on those ballots can be segregated from other votes. Public notice of the time and place at which the county canvassing board shall meet to canvass the absentee electors’ ballots and provisional ballots shall be given at least 48 hours prior thereto by publication on the supervisor of elections’ website and once in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the county or, if there is no newspaper of general circulation in the county, by posting such notice in at least four conspicuous places in the county. As soon as the absentee electors’ ballots and the provisional ballots are canvassed, the board shall proceed to publicly canvass the vote given each candidate, nominee, constitutional amendment, or other measure submitted to the electorate of the county, as shown by the returns then on file in the office of the supervisor of elections.
(3) The canvass, except the canvass of absentee electors’ returns and the canvass of provisional ballots, shall be made from the returns and certificates of the inspectors as signed and filed by them with the supervisor, and the county canvassing board shall not change the number of votes cast for a candidate, nominee, constitutional amendment, or other measure submitted to the electorate of the county, respectively, in any polling place, as shown by the returns. All returns shall be made to the board on or before 2 a.m. of the day following any primary, general, or other election. If the returns from any precinct are missing, if there are any omissions on the returns from any precinct, or if there is an obvious error on any such returns, the canvassing board shall order a retabulation of the returns from such precinct. Before canvassing such returns, the canvassing board shall examine the tabulation of the ballots cast in such precinct and determine whether the returns correctly reflect the votes cast. If there is a discrepancy between the returns and the tabulation of the ballots cast, the tabulation of the ballots cast shall be presumed correct and such votes shall be canvassed accordingly.
(4)(a) The supervisor of elections shall upload into the county’s election management system by 7 p.m. on the day before the election the results of all early voting and absentee ballots that have been canvassed and tabulated by the end of the early voting period. Pursuant to ss. 101.5614(9), 101.657, and 101.68(2), the tabulation of votes cast or the results of such uploads may not be made public before the close of the polls on election day.
(b) The canvassing board shall report all early voting and all tabulated absentee results to the Department of State within 30 minutes after the polls close. Thereafter, the canvassing board shall report, with the exception of provisional ballot results, updated precinct election results to the department at least every 45 minutes until all results are completely reported. The supervisor of elections shall notify the department immediately of any circumstances that do not permit periodic updates as required. Results shall be submitted in a format prescribed by the department.
(5) The canvassing board shall submit on forms or in formats provided by the division unofficial returns to the Department of State for each federal, statewide, state, or multicounty office or ballot measure no later than noon on the third day after any primary election and no later than noon on the fourth day after any general or other election. Such returns shall include the canvass of all ballots as required by subsection (2).
(6) If the county canvassing board determines that the unofficial returns may contain a counting error in which the vote tabulation system failed to count votes that were properly marked in accordance with the instructions on the ballot, the county canvassing board shall:
(a) Correct the error and retabulate the affected ballots with the vote tabulation system; or
(b) Request that the Department of State verify the tabulation software. When the Department of State verifies such software, the department shall compare the software used to tabulate the votes with the software filed with the department pursuant to s. 101.5607 and check the election parameters.
(7) If the unofficial returns reflect that a candidate for any office was defeated or eliminated by one-half of a percent or less of the votes cast for such office, that a candidate for retention to a judicial office was retained or not retained by one-half of a percent or less of the votes cast on the question of retention, or that a measure appearing on the ballot was approved or rejected by one-half of a percent or less of the votes cast on such measure, a recount shall be ordered of the votes cast with respect to such office or measure. The Secretary of State is responsible for ordering recounts in federal, state, and multicounty races. The county canvassing board or the local board responsible for certifying the election is responsible for ordering recounts in all other races. A recount need not be ordered with respect to the returns for any office, however, if the candidate or candidates defeated or eliminated from contention for such office by one-half of a percent or less of the votes cast for such office request in writing that a recount not be made.
(a) Each canvassing board responsible for conducting a recount shall put each marksense ballot through automatic tabulating equipment and determine whether the returns correctly reflect the votes cast. If any marksense ballot is physically damaged so that it cannot be properly counted by the automatic tabulating equipment during the recount, a true duplicate shall be made of the damaged ballot pursuant to the procedures in s. 101.5614(5). Immediately before the start of the recount, a test of the tabulating equipment shall be conducted as provided in s. 101.5612. If the test indicates no error, the recount tabulation of the ballots cast shall be presumed correct and such votes shall be canvassed accordingly. If an error is detected, the cause therefor shall be ascertained and corrected and the recount repeated, as necessary. The canvassing board shall immediately report the error, along with the cause of the error and the corrective measures being taken, to the Department of State. No later than 11 days after the election, the canvassing board shall file a separate incident report with the Department of State, detailing the resolution of the matter and identifying any measures that will avoid a future recurrence of the error.
(b) Each canvassing board responsible for conducting a recount where touchscreen ballots were used shall examine the counters on the precinct tabulators to ensure that the total of the returns on the precinct tabulators equals the overall election return. If there is a discrepancy between the overall election return and the counters of the precinct tabulators, the counters of the precinct tabulators shall be presumed correct and such votes shall be canvassed accordingly.
(c) The canvassing board shall submit on forms or in formats provided by the division a second set of unofficial returns to the Department of State for each federal, statewide, state, or multicounty office or ballot measure. The returns shall be filed no later than 3 p.m. on the 5th day after any primary election and no later than 3 p.m. on the 9th day after any general election in which a recount was ordered by the Secretary of State. If the canvassing board is unable to complete the recount prescribed in this subsection by the deadline, the second set of unofficial returns submitted by the canvassing board shall be identical to the initial unofficial returns and the submission shall also include a detailed explanation of why it was unable to timely complete the recount. However, the canvassing board shall complete the recount prescribed in this subsection, along with any manual recount prescribed in s. 102.166, and certify election returns in accordance with the requirements of this chapter.
(d) The Department of State shall adopt detailed rules prescribing additional recount procedures for each certified voting system, which shall be uniform to the extent practicable.
(8) The canvassing board may employ such clerical help to assist with the work of the board as it deems necessary, with at least one member of the board present at all times, until the canvass of the returns is completed. The clerical help shall be paid from the same fund as inspectors and other necessary election officials.
(9)(a) At the same time that the official results of an election are certified to the Department of State, the county canvassing board shall file a report with the Division of Elections on the conduct of the election. The report must describe:
1. All equipment or software malfunctions at the precinct level, at a counting location, or within computer and telecommunications networks supporting a county location, and the steps that were taken to address the malfunctions;
2. All election definition errors that were discovered after the logic and accuracy test, and the steps that were taken to address the errors;
3. All ballot printing errors or ballot supply problems, and the steps that were taken to address the errors or problems;
4. All staffing shortages or procedural violations by employees or precinct workers which were addressed by the supervisor of elections or the county canvassing board during the conduct of the election, and the steps that were taken to correct such issues;
5. All instances where needs for staffing or equipment were insufficient to meet the needs of the voters; and
6. Any additional information regarding material issues or problems associated with the conduct of the election.
(b) If a supervisor discovers new or additional information on any of the items required to be included in the report pursuant to paragraph (a) after the report is filed, the supervisor shall notify the division that new information has been discovered no later than the next business day after the discovery, and the supervisor shall file an amended report signed by the supervisor of elections on the conduct of the election within 10 days after the discovery.
(c) Such reports shall be maintained on file in the Division of Elections and shall be available for public inspection. The division shall utilize the reports submitted by the canvassing boards to determine what problems may be likely to occur in other elections and disseminate such information, along with possible solutions, to the supervisors of elections.
(10) The supervisor shall file with the department a copy of or an export file from the results database of the county’s voting system and other statistical information as may be required by the department, the Legislature, or the Election Assistance Commission. The department shall adopt rules establishing the required content and acceptable formats for the filings and time for filings.
History.s. 46, ch. 6469, 1913; RGS 350; CGL 407; s. 11, ch. 13761, 1929; s. 6, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 1, ch. 57-104; s. 6, ch. 65-129; s. 19, ch. 73-334; s. 26, ch. 77-175; s. 47, ch. 79-400; s. 18, ch. 84-302; s. 4, ch. 86-33; s. 600, ch. 95-147; s. 41, ch. 2001-40; s. 20, ch. 2002-17; s. 26, ch. 2003-415; s. 58, ch. 2005-277; s. 33, ch. 2007-30; s. 14, ch. 2010-167; s. 43, ch. 2011-40; s. 19, ch. 2013-57.
Note.Former s. 102.45.
102.151 County canvassing board to issue certificates; supervisor to give notice to Department of State.The county canvassing board shall make and sign duplicate certificates containing the total number of votes cast for each person nominated or elected, the names of persons for whom such votes were cast, and the number of votes cast for each candidate or nominee. One of such certificates which relates to offices for which the candidates or nominees have been voted for in more than one county shall be immediately transmitted to the Department of State, and the second copy filed in the supervisor’s office. The supervisor shall transmit to the Department of State, immediately after the county canvassing board has canvassed the returns of the election, a list containing the names of all county and district officers nominated or elected, the office for which each was nominated or elected, and the mailing address of each.
History.s. 47, ch. 6469, 1913; RGS 351; CGL 408; s. 12, ch. 13761, 1929; s. 5, ch. 25388, 1949; s. 6, ch. 26870, 1951; ss. 10, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 27, ch. 77-175; s. 31, ch. 89-338.
Note.Former s. 102.46.
102.155 Certificate of election.The supervisor shall give to any person the election of whom is certified by the county canvassing board a certificate of the person’s election. The Department of State shall give to any person the election of whom is certified by the state canvassing board a certificate of the person’s election. The certificate of election which is issued to any person shall be prima facie evidence of the election of such person.
History.s. 32, ch. 3879, 1889; RS 186; s. 63, ch. 4328, 1895; GS 245; RGS 289; CGL 345; s. 2, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 5, ch. 77-175; s. 1393, ch. 95-147.
Note.Former s. 99.46.
102.166 Manual recounts of overvotes and undervotes.
(1) If the second set of unofficial returns pursuant to s. 102.141 indicates that a candidate for any office was defeated or eliminated by one-quarter of a percent or less of the votes cast for such office, that a candidate for retention to a judicial office was retained or not retained by one-quarter of a percent or less of the votes cast on the question of retention, or that a measure appearing on the ballot was approved or rejected by one-quarter of a percent or less of the votes cast on such measure, a manual recount of the overvotes and undervotes cast in the entire geographic jurisdiction of such office or ballot measure shall be ordered unless:
(a) The candidate or candidates defeated or eliminated from contention by one-quarter of 1 percent or fewer of the votes cast for such office request in writing that a recount not be made; or
(b) The number of overvotes and undervotes is fewer than the number of votes needed to change the outcome of the election.

The Secretary of State is responsible for ordering a manual recount for federal, state, and multicounty races. The county canvassing board or local board responsible for certifying the election is responsible for ordering a manual recount for all other races.

(2)(a) Any hardware or software used to identify and sort overvotes and undervotes for a given race or ballot measure must be certified by the Department of State as part of the voting system pursuant to s. 101.015. Any such hardware or software must be capable of simultaneously counting votes.
(b) Overvotes and undervotes shall be identified and sorted while recounting ballots pursuant to s. 102.141, if the hardware or software for this purpose has been certified or the department’s rules so provide.
(3) Any manual recount shall be open to the public.
(4)(a) A vote for a candidate or ballot measure shall be counted if there is a clear indication on the ballot that the voter has made a definite choice.
(b) The Department of State shall adopt specific rules for the federal write-in absentee ballot and for each certified voting system prescribing what constitutes a “clear indication on the ballot that the voter has made a definite choice.” The rules shall be consistent, to the extent practicable, and may not:
1. Exclusively provide that the voter must properly mark or designate his or her choice on the ballot; or
2. Contain a catch-all provision that fails to identify specific standards, such as “any other mark or indication clearly indicating that the voter has made a definite choice.”
(c) The rule for the federal write-in absentee ballot must address, at a minimum, the following issues:
1. The appropriate lines or spaces for designating a candidate choice and, for state and local races, the office to be voted, including the proximity of each to the other and the effect of intervening blank lines.
2. The sufficiency of designating a candidate’s first or last name when no other candidate in the race has the same or a similar name.
3. The sufficiency of designating a candidate’s first or last name when an opposing candidate has the same or a similar name, notwithstanding generational suffixes and titles such as “Jr.,” “Sr.,” or “III.” The rule should contemplate the sufficiency of additional first names and first initials, middle names and middle initials, generational suffixes and titles, nicknames, and, in general elections, the name or abbreviation of a political party.
4. Candidate designations containing both a qualified candidate’s name and a political party, including where the party designated is the candidate’s party, is not the candidate’s party, has an opposing candidate in the race, or does not have an opposing candidate in the race.
5. Situations where the abbreviation or name of a candidate is the same as the abbreviation or name of a political party to which the candidate does not belong, including where the party designated has another candidate in the race or does not have a candidate in the race.
6. The use of marks, symbols, or language, such as arrows, quotation marks, or the word “same” or “ditto,” to indicate that the same political party designation applies to all listed offices.
7. Situations where an elector designates the name of a qualified candidate for an incorrect office.
8. Situations where an elector designates an otherwise correct office name that includes an incorrect district number.
(5) Procedures for a manual recount are as follows:
(a) The county canvassing board shall appoint as many counting teams of at least two electors as is necessary to manually recount the ballots. A counting team must have, when possible, members of at least two political parties. A candidate involved in the race shall not be a member of the counting team.
(b) Each duplicate ballot prepared pursuant to s. 101.5614(5) or s. 102.141(7) shall be compared with the original ballot to ensure the correctness of the duplicate.
(c) If a counting team is unable to determine whether the ballot contains a clear indication that the voter has made a definite choice, the ballot shall be presented to the county canvassing board for a determination.
(d) The Department of State shall adopt detailed rules prescribing additional recount procedures for each certified voting system which shall be uniform to the extent practicable. The rules shall address, at a minimum, the following areas:
1. Security of ballots during the recount process;
2. Time and place of recounts;
3. Public observance of recounts;
4. Objections to ballot determinations;
5. Record of recount proceedings; and
6. Procedures relating to candidate and petitioner representatives.
History.s. 9, ch. 18405, 1937; CGL 1940; Supp. 337(23-b); s. 7, ch. 22858, 1945; s. 5, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 30, ch. 28156, 1953; s. 24, ch. 57-1; s. 29, ch. 65-380; s. 27, ch. 77-175; s. 48, ch. 79-400; s. 15, ch. 89-348; s. 601, ch. 95-147; s. 1, ch. 99-339; s. 42, ch. 2001-40; s. 21, ch. 2002-17; s. 59, ch. 2005-277; s. 34, ch. 2007-30; s. 15, ch. 2010-167; s. 3, ch. 2011-162.
Note.Former s. 100.25; s. 101.57.
102.168 Contest of election.
(1) Except as provided in s. 102.171, the certification of election or nomination of any person to office, or of the result on any question submitted by referendum, may be contested in the circuit court by any unsuccessful candidate for such office or nomination thereto or by any elector qualified to vote in the election related to such candidacy, or by any taxpayer, respectively.
(2) Such contestant shall file a complaint, together with the fees prescribed in chapter 28, with the clerk of the circuit court within 10 days after midnight of the date the last board responsible for certifying the results officially certifies the results of the election being contested.
(3) The complaint shall set forth the grounds on which the contestant intends to establish his or her right to such office or set aside the result of the election on a submitted referendum. The grounds for contesting an election under this section are:
(a) Misconduct, fraud, or corruption on the part of any election official or any member of the canvassing board sufficient to change or place in doubt the result of the election.
(b) Ineligibility of the successful candidate for the nomination or office in dispute.
(c) Receipt of a number of illegal votes or rejection of a number of legal votes sufficient to change or place in doubt the result of the election.
(d) Proof that any elector, election official, or canvassing board member was given or offered a bribe or reward in money, property, or any other thing of value for the purpose of procuring the successful candidate’s nomination or election or determining the result on any question submitted by referendum.
(4) The canvassing board responsible for canvassing the election is an indispensable party defendant in county and local elections. The Elections Canvassing Commission is an indispensable party defendant in federal, state, and multicounty elections and in elections for justice of the Supreme Court, judge of a district court of appeal, and judge of a circuit court. The successful candidate is an indispensable party to any action brought to contest the election or nomination of a candidate.
(5) A statement of the grounds of contest may not be rejected, nor the proceedings dismissed, by the court for any want of form if the grounds of contest provided in the statement are sufficient to clearly inform the defendant of the particular proceeding or cause for which the nomination or election is contested.
(6) A copy of the complaint shall be served upon the defendant and any other person named therein in the same manner as in other civil cases under the laws of this state. Within 10 days after the complaint has been served, the defendant must file an answer admitting or denying the allegations on which the contestant relies or stating that the defendant has no knowledge or information concerning the allegations, which shall be deemed a denial of the allegations, and must state any other defenses, in law or fact, on which the defendant relies. If an answer is not filed within the time prescribed, the defendant may not be granted a hearing in court to assert any claim or objection that is required by this subsection to be stated in an answer.
(7) Any candidate, qualified elector, or taxpayer presenting such a contest to a circuit judge is entitled to an immediate hearing. However, the court in its discretion may limit the time to be consumed in taking testimony, with a view therein to the circumstances of the matter and to the proximity of any succeeding election.
(8) In any contest that requires a review of the canvassing board’s decision on the legality of an absentee ballot pursuant to s. 101.68 based upon a comparison of the signature on the voter’s certificate and the signature of the elector in the registration records, the circuit court may not review or consider any evidence other than the signature on the voter’s certificate and the signature of the elector in the registration records. The court’s review of such issue shall be to determine only if the canvassing board abused its discretion in making its decision.
History.ss. 7, 8, Art. 10, ch. 38, 1845; RS 199; GS 283; RGS 379; CGL 444; s. 3, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 16, ch. 65-378; s. 28, ch. 77-175; s. 49, ch. 79-400; s. 602, ch. 95-147; s. 3, ch. 99-339; s. 44, ch. 2001-40; s. 60, ch. 2005-277; s. 44, ch. 2011-40.
Note.Former s. 104.06; s. 99.192; s. 102.161.
102.1682 Judgment of ouster; revocation of commission; judgment setting aside referendum.
(1) If the contestant is found to be entitled to the office, if on the findings a judgment to that effect is entered, and if the adverse party has been commissioned or has entered upon the duties thereof or is holding the office, then a judgment of ouster shall be entered against such party. Upon presentation of a certified copy of the judgment of ouster to the Governor, the Governor shall revoke such commission and commission the person found in the judgment to be entitled to the office.
(2) If a judgment is entered setting aside a referendum, the election shall be void.
History.s. 9, Art. 10, ch. 38, 1845; RS 201; GS 285; RGS 381; CGL 446; s. 3, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 18, ch. 65-378; s. 29, ch. 77-175.
Note.Former s. 104.08; s. 99.211; s. 102.163.
102.1685 Venue.The venue for contesting a nomination or election or the results of a referendum shall be in the county in which the contestant qualified or in the county in which the question was submitted for referendum or, if the election or referendum covered more than one county, then in Leon County.
History.s. 3, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 17, ch. 65-378; s. 30, ch. 77-175.
Note.Former s. 99.202; s. 102.162.
102.169 Quo warranto not abridged.Nothing in this code shall be construed to abrogate or abridge any remedy that may now exist by quo warranto, but in such case the proceeding prescribed in s. 102.168 shall be an alternative or cumulative remedy.
History.RS 203; GS 287; RGS 383; CGL 448; s. 3, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 19, ch. 65-378; s. 31, ch. 77-175.
Note.Former s. 104.10; s. 99.221; s. 102.164.
102.171 Contest of election to Legislature.The jurisdiction to hear any contest of the election of a member to either house of the Legislature is vested in the applicable house, as each house, pursuant to s. 2, Art. III of the State Constitution, is the sole judge of the qualifications, elections, and returns of its members. Therefore, the certification of election of any person to the office of member of either house of the Legislature may only be contested in the applicable house by an unsuccessful candidate for such office, in accordance with the rules of that house. This section does not apply to any contest of the nomination of any person for the office of member of either house of the Legislature at any primary or special primary election in which only those qualified electors who are registered members of the political party holding such primary election may vote, as provided for in s. 5(b), Art. VI of the State Constitution. This section does apply to any contest of a primary or special primary election for the office of member of either house of the Legislature in which all qualified electors may vote, as provided for in s. 5(b), Art. VI of the State Constitution, and the recipient of the most votes is deemed to be elected according to applicable law.
History.s. 4, ch. 99-339.