§ 101.5606 Requirements for approval of systems.
Overview of Statute
No electronic or electromechanical voting system shall be approved by the Department of State unless it is so constructed that:
(1) It permits and requires voting in secrecy.
(2) It permits each elector to vote at any election for all persons and offices for whom and for which the elector is lawfully entitled to vote, and no others; to vote for as many persons for an office as the elector is entitled to vote for; and to vote for or against any question upon which the elector is entitled to vote.
(3) It immediately rejects a ballot where the number of votes for an office or measure exceeds the number which the voter is entitled to cast or where the tabulating equipment reads the ballot as a ballot with no votes cast.
(4) For systems using marksense ballots, it accepts a rejected ballot pursuant to subsection (3) if a voter chooses to cast the ballot, but records no vote for any office that has been overvoted or undervoted.
(5) It is capable of correctly counting votes.
(6) It permits each voter at a primary election to vote only for the candidates seeking nomination by the political party in which such voter is registered, for any candidate for nonpartisan office, and for any question upon which the voter is entitled to vote.
(7) At presidential elections it permits each elector, by one operation, to vote for all presidential electors of a party or for all presidential electors of candidates for President and Vice President with no party affiliation.
(8) It provides a method for write-in voting.
(9) It is capable of accumulating a count of the specific number of ballots tallied for a precinct, accumulating total votes by candidate for each office, and accumulating total votes for and against each question and issue of the ballots tallied for a precinct.
(10) It is capable of tallying votes from ballots of different political parties from the same precinct, in the case of a primary election.
(11) It is capable of automatically producing precinct totals in printed form.
(12) If it is of a type which registers votes electronically, it will permit each voter to change his or her vote for any candidate or upon any question appearing on the official ballot up to the time that the voter takes the final step to register his or her vote and to have the vote computed.
(13) It is capable of providing records from which the operation of the voting system may be audited.
(14) It uses a precinct-count tabulation system.
s. 6, ch. 73-156; s. 21, ch. 77-175; s. 10, ch. 84-302; s. 10, ch. 89-348; s. 578, ch. 95-147; s. 17, ch. 99-318; s. 18, ch. 2001-40; s. 10, ch. 2002-17; s. 35, ch. 2005-277; s. 32, ch. 2011-40.
Following the highly publicized 2000 Presidential Election, the Florida Legislature outlawed punch card voting systems. Counties using punchcard systems had an error rate of 3.83%.
Although many believe that the high error rate was attributed in large part to the ballot design in some of these counties, the publicity surrounding the “hanging chads” was enough for the Legislature to prohibit further use of these systems.
Following the 2000 Presidential Election, the Florida Legislature outlawed central count tabulation systems. Counties using central count tabulation systems had an error rate of 5.69%, while counties using precinct count systems had an error rate of .79%. The average error rate of central count optical scan counties was higher than the error rate of any of the other voting systems in use in the state.
1. Definition for Department
The Department of State. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(7).
2. Definition for Voting System
3. Definition for Primary Election
An election held preceding the general election for the purpose of nominating a party nominee to be voted for in the general election to fill a national, state, county, or district office. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(29).
4. Definition for Nonpartisan Office
An office for which a candidate is prohibited from campaigning or qualifying for election or retention in office based on party affiliation. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(22).
5. Definition for 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).
6. Definition for 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).
7. Definition for Person
An individual or a corporation, association, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint stock company, club, organization, estate, trust, business trust, syndicate, or other combination of individuals having collective capacity. The term includes a political party, affiliated party committee, or political committee. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(14).
8. Definition for 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).
9. Definition for Election
Any primary election, special primary election, special election, general election, or presidential preference primary election. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(12).
10. Definition for Overvote
The elector marks or designates more names than there are persons to be elected to an office or designates more than one answer to a ballot question, and the tabulator records no vote for the office or question. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(25).
11. Definition for Candidate
Any person to whom any one or more of the following applies:
12. Definition for 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).
Case Name: Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections, Inc. v. Browning
Citation: 28 So.3d 880
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.
Case Name: Florida Democratic Party v. Hood
Citation: 342 F.Supp.2d 1073
Federal District Court: Northern District of Florida
Case Summary: Florida Democratic Party v. Hood held that the Florida Democratic Party had standing to sue on behalf of voters who would be denied the chance to cast provisional ballots; that HAVA did not require ballots cast in wrong precincts to be counted; that HAVA did require that voters who thought they were registered be given the chance to cast provisional ballots; and that requirements for issuing a preliminary injunction requiring the distribution of provisional ballots were satisfied, after the Party sued Florida, seeking a preliminary injunction preventing election workers from denying provisional ballots to prospective voters who they believed were not registered.
Case Name: Wexler v. Lepore (federal)
Citation: 342 F. Supp. 2d 1097
Federal District Court: Southern District of Florida
Case Summary: Wexler v. Lepore held that Florida's updated standards for manual recounts in counties that used touchscreen or optical scan systems complied with the 5th and 14th Amendments' equal protection requirements because the standards were uniform and non-differential.
Case Name: American Ass’n of People with Disabilities v. Smith
Citation: 227 F.Supp.2d 1276
Federal District Court: Middle District of Florida
Case Summary: American Ass'n of People with Disabilities v. Smith held that the statutes that provided for assistance in voting did not violate the Florida Constitution.
Regulations & Guidance
Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 148, Adoption and approval of system
Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 157, Secrecy in voting
Electronic Voting Systems, 12 A.L.R. 6th 523
Constitutionality of statutes providing for use of voting machines, 66 A.L.R. 855
0050 Surveys 8; Marking and Counting of Ballots