Code Section
Florida > The Florida Election Code > Conducting Elections And Ascertaining The Results

§ 102.131 Returns before canvassing commission.

Overview of Statute

This statute states that any irregular returns are not to be included in the Elections Canvassing Commission’s determination, canvass, and declaration. All the Elections Canvassing Commission can look at are the county returns to determine the true vote.


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.


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.

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).


Florida Cases

Case Name: Gore v. Harris

Citation: 773 So.2d 524

Year: 2000

Case URL:

Case Summary: Gore v. Harris held that because adequate standards for a manual recount could not be developed by the deadline set by the United States Supreme Court, appellants Gore and Lieberman were given no relief.

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Case Name: Siegel v. LePore

Citation: 120 F.Supp.2d 1041

Federal District Court: Southern District of Florida

Year: 2000

Case URL:

Case Summary: Florida voters and Republican Party candidates tried to enjoin canvassing boards from four counties from manually recounting presidential election ballots. The court denied injunctive relief because the plaintiffs had neither demonstrated a clear constitutional injury, nor had they shown fundamental unfairness in Florida's recount procedures.

Regulations & Guidance

Administrative Decisions

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 187, Canvass of returns of county canvassing boards

  • 0050 Surveys 6; Certification of Results – General Elections