2022 Florida Statutes (including 2022C, 2022D, 2022A, and 2023B)
Canvass of returns.
Canvass of returns.
101.5614 Canvass of returns.—
(1) As soon as the polls are closed, the election board shall secure the voting devices against further voting. The election board shall thereafter, in the presence of members of the public desiring to witness the proceedings, verify the number of voted ballots, unused ballots, provisional ballots, and spoiled ballots to ascertain whether such number corresponds with the number of ballots issued by the supervisor. If there is a difference, this fact shall be reported in writing to the county canvassing board with the reasons therefor if known. The total number of voted ballots shall be entered on the forms provided. The proceedings of the election board at the precinct after the polls have closed shall be open to the public; however, no person except a member of the election board shall touch any ballot or ballot container or interfere with or obstruct the orderly count of the ballots.
(2) The results of ballots tabulated at precinct locations may be transmitted to the main computer system for the purpose of compilation of complete returns. The security guidelines for transmission of returns shall conform to rules adopted by the Department of State pursuant to s. 101.015.
(3) For each ballot or ballot image on which write-in votes have been cast, the canvassing board shall compare the write-in votes with the votes cast on the ballot; if the total number of votes for any office exceeds the number allowed by law, such votes shall not be counted. All valid votes shall be tallied by the canvassing board.
(4)(a) If any vote-by-mail ballot is physically damaged so that it cannot properly be counted by the voting system’s automatic tabulating equipment, a true duplicate copy shall be made of the damaged ballot in an open and accessible room in the presence of witnesses and substituted for the damaged ballot. Likewise, a duplicate ballot shall be made of a vote-by-mail ballot containing an overvoted race if there is a clear indication on the ballot that the voter has made a definite choice in the overvoted race or ballot measure. A duplicate shall include all valid votes as determined by the canvassing board based on rules adopted by the division pursuant to s. 102.166(4). A duplicate may be made of a ballot containing an undervoted race or ballot measure if there is a clear indication on the ballot that the voter has made a definite choice in the undervoted race or ballot measure. A duplicate may not include a vote if the voter’s intent in such race or on such measure is not clear. Upon request, a physically present candidate, a political party official, a political committee official, or an authorized designee thereof, must be allowed to observe the duplication of ballots upon signing an affidavit affirming his or her acknowledgment that disclosure of election results discerned from observing the ballot duplication process while the election is ongoing is a felony, as provided under subsection (8). The observer must be allowed to observe the duplication of ballots in such a way that the observer is able to see the markings on each ballot and the duplication taking place. All duplicate ballots must be clearly labeled “duplicate,” bear a serial number which shall be recorded on the defective ballot, and be counted in lieu of the defective ballot. The duplication of ballots must happen in the presence of at least one canvassing board member. After a ballot has been duplicated, the defective ballot shall be placed in an envelope provided for that purpose, and the duplicate ballot shall be tallied with the other ballots for that precinct. If any observer makes a reasonable objection to a duplicate of a ballot, the ballot must be presented to the canvassing board for a determination of the validity of the duplicate. The canvassing board must document the serial number of the ballot in the canvassing board’s minutes. The canvassing board must decide whether the duplication is valid. If the duplicate ballot is determined to be valid, the duplicate ballot must be counted. If the duplicate ballot is determined to be invalid, the duplicate ballot must be rejected and a proper duplicate ballot must be made and counted in lieu of the original.
(b) A true duplicate copy shall be made of each federal write-in absentee ballot in the presence of witnesses and substituted for the federal write-in absentee ballot. The duplicate ballot must include all valid votes as determined by the canvassing board based on rules adopted by the division pursuant to s. 102.166(4). All duplicate ballots shall be clearly labeled “duplicate,” bear a serial number that shall be recorded on the federal write-in absentee ballot, and be counted in lieu of the federal write-in absentee ballot. After a ballot has been duplicated, the federal write-in absentee ballot shall be placed in an envelope provided for that purpose, and the duplicate ballot shall be tallied with other ballots for that precinct.
(5) If there is no clear indication on the ballot that the voter has made a definite choice for an office or ballot measure, the elector’s ballot shall not be counted for that office or measure, but the ballot shall not be invalidated as to those names or measures which are properly marked.
(6) Vote-by-mail ballots may be counted by the voting system’s automatic tabulating equipment if they have been marked in a manner which will enable them to be properly counted by such equipment.
(7) The return printed by the voting system’s automatic tabulating equipment, to which has been added the return of write-in, vote-by-mail, and manually counted votes and votes from provisional ballots, shall constitute the official return of the election upon certification by the canvassing board. Upon completion of the count, the returns shall be open to the public. A copy of the returns may be posted at the central counting place or at the office of the supervisor of elections in lieu of the posting of returns at individual precincts.
(8) Any supervisor of elections, deputy supervisor of elections, canvassing board member, election board member, election employee, or other person authorized to observe, review, or inspect ballot materials or observe canvassing who releases any information about votes cast for or against any candidate or ballot measure or any results of any election before the closing of the polls in that county on election day commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
History.—s. 14, ch. 73-156; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 21, ch. 77-175; s. 14, ch. 81-105; s. 17, ch. 84-302; s. 1, ch. 85-17; s. 5, ch. 86-200; s. 17, ch. 90-315; s. 1, ch. 94-208; ss. 22, 37, ch. 2001-40; ss. 14, 15, ch. 2002-17; s. 38, ch. 2005-277; s. 35, ch. 2011-40; s. 2, ch. 2011-162; s. 12, ch. 2016-37; s. 2, ch. 2018-112; s. 14, ch. 2019-162; s. 3, ch. 2020-109; s. 20, ch. 2021-11; s. 18, ch. 2022-73.