Florida Senate - 2020                             CS for SB 1312
       By the Committee on Appropriations; and Senators Montford and
       576-04286-20                                          20201312c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to voting systems; amending s. 97.021,
    3         F.S.; defining the term “automatic tabulating
    4         equipment” for purposes of the Florida Election Code;
    5         amending s. 101.5612, F.S.; revising the timeframes
    6         for conducting public preelection testing of automatic
    7         tabulating equipment; amending s. 101.5614, F.S.;
    8         revising procedures governing the canvassing of
    9         returns to specify usage of a voting system’s
   10         automatic tabulating equipment; amending s. 102.141,
   11         F.S.; clarifying the circumstances under which ballots
   12         must be processed through automatic tabulating
   13         equipment in a recount; amending s. 102.166, F.S.;
   14         specifying the manner by which a manual recount may be
   15         conducted; revising requirements for hardware or
   16         software used in a manual recount; authorizing
   17         overvotes and undervotes to be identified and sorted
   18         physically or digitally in a manual recount; revising
   19         minimum requirements for Department of State rules to
   20         require procedures regarding the certification and use
   21         of automatic tabulating equipment for manual recounts;
   22         providing construction; providing effective dates.
   24  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   26         Section 1. Present subsections (5) through (46) of section
   27  97.021, Florida Statutes, are renumbered as subsections (6)
   28  through (47), respectively, and a new subsection (5) is added to
   29  that section, to read:
   30         97.021 Definitions.—For the purposes of this code, except
   31  where the context clearly indicates otherwise, the term:
   32         (5) “Automatic tabulating equipment” means an apparatus
   33  that automatically examines, counts, and records votes.
   34         Section 2. Effective upon becoming a law, subsection (2) of
   35  section 101.5612, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   36         101.5612 Testing of tabulating equipment.—
   37         (2) On any day not more than 25 10 days before prior to the
   38  commencement of early voting as provided in s. 101.657, the
   39  supervisor of elections shall have the automatic tabulating
   40  equipment publicly tested to ascertain that the equipment will
   41  correctly count the votes cast for all offices and on all
   42  measures. If the ballots to be used at the polling place on
   43  election day are not available at the time of the testing, the
   44  supervisor may conduct an additional test not more than 10 days
   45  before election day. Public notice of the time and place of the
   46  test shall be given at least 48 hours prior thereto by
   47  publication on the supervisor of elections’ website and once in
   48  one or more newspapers of general circulation in the county or,
   49  if there is no newspaper of general circulation in the county,
   50  by posting the notice in at least four conspicuous places in the
   51  county. The supervisor or the municipal elections official may,
   52  at the time of qualifying, give written notice of the time and
   53  location of the public preelection test to each candidate
   54  qualifying with that office and obtain a signed receipt that the
   55  notice has been given. The Department of State shall give
   56  written notice to each statewide candidate at the time of
   57  qualifying, or immediately at the end of qualifying, that the
   58  voting equipment will be tested and advise each candidate to
   59  contact the county supervisor of elections as to the time and
   60  location of the public preelection test. The supervisor or the
   61  municipal elections official shall, at least 30 15 days before
   62  prior to the commencement of early voting as provided in s.
   63  101.657, send written notice by certified mail to the county
   64  party chair of each political party and to all candidates for
   65  other than statewide office whose names appear on the ballot in
   66  the county and who did not receive written notification from the
   67  supervisor or municipal elections official at the time of
   68  qualifying, stating the time and location of the public
   69  preelection test of the automatic tabulating equipment. The
   70  canvassing board shall convene, and each member of the
   71  canvassing board shall certify to the accuracy of the test. For
   72  the test, the canvassing board may designate one member to
   73  represent it. The test shall be open to representatives of the
   74  political parties, the press, and the public. Each political
   75  party may designate one person with expertise in the computer
   76  field who shall be allowed in the central counting room when all
   77  tests are being conducted and when the official votes are being
   78  counted. The designee shall not interfere with the normal
   79  operation of the canvassing board.
   80         Section 3. Paragraph (a) of subsection (4) and subsections
   81  (6) and (7) of section 101.5614, Florida Statutes, are amended
   82  to read:
   83         101.5614 Canvass of returns.—
   84         (4)(a) If any vote-by-mail ballot is physically damaged so
   85  that it cannot properly be counted by the voting system’s
   86  automatic tabulating equipment, a true duplicate copy shall be
   87  made of the damaged ballot in the presence of witnesses and
   88  substituted for the damaged ballot. Likewise, a duplicate ballot
   89  shall be made of a vote-by-mail ballot containing an overvoted
   90  race or a marked vote-by-mail ballot in which every race is
   91  undervoted which shall include all valid votes as determined by
   92  the canvassing board based on rules adopted by the division
   93  pursuant to s. 102.166(4). Upon request, a physically present
   94  candidate, a political party official, a political committee
   95  official, or an authorized designee thereof, must be allowed to
   96  observe the duplication of ballots. All duplicate ballots shall
   97  be clearly labeled “duplicate,” bear a serial number which shall
   98  be recorded on the defective ballot, and be counted in lieu of
   99  the defective ballot. After a ballot has been duplicated, the
  100  defective ballot shall be placed in an envelope provided for
  101  that purpose, and the duplicate ballot shall be tallied with the
  102  other ballots for that precinct.
  103         (6) Vote-by-mail ballots may be counted by the voting
  104  system’s automatic tabulating equipment if they have been marked
  105  in a manner which will enable them to be properly counted by
  106  such equipment.
  107         (7) The return printed by the voting system’s automatic
  108  tabulating equipment, to which has been added the return of
  109  write-in, vote-by-mail, and manually counted votes and votes
  110  from provisional ballots, shall constitute the official return
  111  of the election upon certification by the canvassing board. Upon
  112  completion of the count, the returns shall be open to the
  113  public. A copy of the returns may be posted at the central
  114  counting place or at the office of the supervisor of elections
  115  in lieu of the posting of returns at individual precincts.
  116         Section 4. Paragraph (a) of subsection (7) of section
  117  102.141, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  118         102.141 County canvassing board; duties.—
  119         (7) If the unofficial returns reflect that a candidate for
  120  any office was defeated or eliminated by one-half of a percent
  121  or less of the votes cast for such office, that a candidate for
  122  retention to a judicial office was retained or not retained by
  123  one-half of a percent or less of the votes cast on the question
  124  of retention, or that a measure appearing on the ballot was
  125  approved or rejected by one-half of a percent or less of the
  126  votes cast on such measure, a recount shall be ordered of the
  127  votes cast with respect to such office or measure. The Secretary
  128  of State is responsible for ordering recounts in federal, state,
  129  and multicounty races. The county canvassing board or the local
  130  board responsible for certifying the election is responsible for
  131  ordering recounts in all other races. A recount need not be
  132  ordered with respect to the returns for any office, however, if
  133  the candidate or candidates defeated or eliminated from
  134  contention for such office by one-half of a percent or less of
  135  the votes cast for such office request in writing that a recount
  136  not be made.
  137         (a) Each canvassing board responsible for conducting a
  138  recount shall put each marksense ballot through automatic
  139  tabulating equipment and determine whether the returns correctly
  140  reflect the votes cast. If any marksense ballot is physically
  141  damaged so that it cannot be properly counted by the automatic
  142  tabulating equipment during the recount, a true duplicate shall
  143  be made of the damaged ballot pursuant to the procedures in s.
  144  101.5614(4). Immediately before the start of the recount, a test
  145  of the tabulating equipment shall be conducted as provided in s.
  146  101.5612. If the test indicates no error, the recount tabulation
  147  of the ballots cast shall be presumed correct and such votes
  148  shall be canvassed accordingly. If an error is detected, the
  149  cause therefor shall be ascertained and corrected and the
  150  recount repeated, as necessary. The canvassing board shall
  151  immediately report the error, along with the cause of the error
  152  and the corrective measures being taken, to the Department of
  153  State. No later than 11 days after the election, the canvassing
  154  board shall file a separate incident report with the Department
  155  of State, detailing the resolution of the matter and identifying
  156  any measures that will avoid a future recurrence of the error.
  157  If the automatic tabulating equipment used in a recount is not
  158  part of the voting system and the ballots have already been
  159  processed through such equipment, the canvassing board is not
  160  required to put each ballot through any automatic tabulating
  161  equipment again.
  162         Section 5. Subsections (1), (2), and (5) of section
  163  102.166, Florida Statutes, are amended, and subsection (6) is
  164  added to that section, to read:
  165         102.166 Manual recounts of overvotes and undervotes.—
  166         (1) If the second set of unofficial returns pursuant to s.
  167  102.141 indicates that a candidate for any office was defeated
  168  or eliminated by one-quarter of a percent or less of the votes
  169  cast for such office, that a candidate for retention to a
  170  judicial office was retained or not retained by one-quarter of a
  171  percent or less of the votes cast on the question of retention,
  172  or that a measure appearing on the ballot was approved or
  173  rejected by one-quarter of a percent or less of the votes cast
  174  on such measure, a manual recount of the overvotes and
  175  undervotes cast in the entire geographic jurisdiction of such
  176  office or ballot measure shall be ordered unless:
  177         (a) The candidate or candidates defeated or eliminated from
  178  contention by one-quarter of 1 percent or fewer of the votes
  179  cast for such office request in writing that a recount not be
  180  made; or
  181         (b) The number of overvotes and undervotes is fewer than
  182  the number of votes needed to change the outcome of the
  183  election.
  185  The Secretary of State is responsible for ordering a manual
  186  recount for federal, state, and multicounty races. The county
  187  canvassing board or local board responsible for certifying the
  188  election is responsible for ordering a manual recount for all
  189  other races. A manual recount consists of a recount of marksense
  190  ballots or of digital images of those ballots by a person.
  191         (2) Any hardware or software used to identify and sort
  192  overvotes and undervotes for a given race or ballot measure must
  193  be certified by the Department of State as part of the voting
  194  system pursuant to s. 101.015. Any such hardware or software
  195  must be capable of simultaneously identifying and sorting
  196  overvotes and undervotes in multiple races while simultaneously
  197  counting votes. Overvotes and undervotes must be identified and
  198  sorted while recounting ballots pursuant to s. 102.141.
  199  Overvotes and undervotes may be identified and sorted physically
  200  or digitally.
  201         (5) Procedures for a manual recount are as follows:
  202         (a) The county canvassing board shall appoint as many
  203  counting teams of at least two electors as is necessary to
  204  manually recount the ballots. A counting team must have, when
  205  possible, members of at least two political parties. A candidate
  206  involved in the race shall not be a member of the counting team.
  207         (b) Each duplicate ballot prepared pursuant to s.
  208  101.5614(4) or s. 102.141(7) shall be compared with the original
  209  ballot to ensure the correctness of the duplicate.
  210         (c) If a counting team is unable to determine whether the
  211  ballot contains a clear indication that the voter has made a
  212  definite choice, the ballot shall be presented to the county
  213  canvassing board for a determination.
  214         (d) The Department of State shall adopt detailed rules
  215  prescribing additional recount procedures for each certified
  216  voting system which shall be uniform to the extent practicable.
  217  The rules shall address, at a minimum, the following areas:
  218         1. Security of ballots during the recount process;
  219         2. Time and place of recounts;
  220         3. Public observance of recounts;
  221         4. Objections to ballot determinations;
  222         5. Record of recount proceedings; and
  223         6. Procedures relating to candidate and petitioner
  224  representatives; and
  225         7. Procedures relating to the certification and the use of
  226  automatic tabulating equipment that is not part of a voting
  227  system.
  228         (6)Nothing in this section precludes a county canvassing
  229  board or local board involved in the recount from comparing a
  230  digital image of a ballot to the corresponding physical paper
  231  ballot during a manual recount.
  232         Section 6. Except as otherwise expressly provided in this
  233  act and except for this section, which shall take effect upon
  234  becoming a law, this act shall take effect January 1, 2021.