To be eligible to vote in Florida, you must first be registered. To register, you must submit a voter registration application that contains your Florida Driver’s License or identification number or the last four digits of your Social Security number. Voter registration applications are processed through the Department of State to verify the applicant’s eligibility and identity.
Florida Supervisors of Elections conduct regular list maintenance programs to ensure accurate voter registration rolls. We receive frequent notifications from the United States Postal Service (USPS), Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), Florida Department of Health's Bureau of Vital Statistics, and other governmental agencies to maintain current records and remove ineligible voters from the rolls.
In 2019, Florida became a member of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a multi-state partnership that allows states to crosscheck voter registration data with other member states to identify duplicate registrations, voters who have moved out of state or died, and potentially eligible but unregistered citizens.
For a voting system to be used in Florida, it must first be tested and approved by the Secretary of State’s office. The State rigorously tests a voting system’s hardware and software, including security, safeguards, and data encryption to ensure votes are accurately counted.
A Logic and Accuracy test is performed on the voting system prior to each election, as required by Florida law. Test ballots with a predetermined number of votes for each contest are tabulated through a random selection of the voting machines to certify the machines accurately count and record votes. The test is publicly noticed in advance and open to the public. In addition to the State’s testing requirements, we fully test 100% of our voting equipment.
Florida law requires a voting system audit to be conducted after every election to verify the accuracy of the election results. In Marion County, the Canvassing Board randomly selects a contest in one or more precincts to be manually counted and compared to the machine totals, and includes Vote-by-Mail, Early Voting, and Election Day ballots. This process is publicly noticed in advance and open to the public.
Florida’s statewide voter registration system is used to verify that a voter is eligible, registered at a valid residential address, and has not already voted in the election. Once a voter checks in at the polls or their mail ballot has been accepted, their voting record is locked and will not allow another voting transaction in the same election.
Photo and Signature Identification
Florida law requires voters to present a current and valid acceptable form of photo and signature identification prior to receiving a ballot during Early Voting or on Election Day. If a voter is unable to provide identification at the polls, they may cast a provisional ballot but must provide further proof of eligibility for their ballot to count.
All Florida voters cast their vote on a paper ballot, leaving a physical record for every vote cast. Florida law requires all ballots and election materials to be securely stored for 22 months after the election and are kept under video surveillance.
To receive a vote-by-mail ballot, a voter must first make a request and verify their identity. To be counted, the voter must sign their specific return envelope and it must match the signature on record. Ballots are stored in a secure room under video surveillance and remain sealed until they are publicly canvassed. Voters can track their mail ballot from the time it is printed to counted.
Secure Ballot Intake Stations
Vote-by-mail ballots can be returned to any Secure Ballot Intake Station located at each Early Voting site and the Supervisor of Elections office. Stations are available during limited hours of operation and are monitored by trained election workers. Once a vote-by-mail ballot is deposited into a Secure Ballot Intake Station, our office verifies the signature on the envelope before it is opened and the ballot is counted.
At the close of polls each day of voting, we compare the voting machine totals to the number of voter check-ins to confirm that the number of voted ballots matches the number of voters who voted. Similarly, we balance the number of vote-by-mail ballots received to the number of ballots requested and mailed.
Our tabulation system and voter registration system are separate. We utilize a stand-alone server that is not connected to the internet. Precinct scanner results are printed on results tapes and also stored to a flash drive that is returned to our office on election night. The results are then manually uploaded into our system.
Our office is under 24-hour camera surveillance and all areas of our operations are secured and require key card access. We have strict chain-of-custody and physical inventory processes. We do background checks on all full-time employees and only our staff have access to our voting equipment. We use tamper evident security seals on our voting equipment and locked ballot transport bags.
In 2018, we purchased and installed an ALBERT sensor that provides security alerts on network threats, and transitioned our website to a .Gov domain for added security. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) performs frequent security scans of our systems and notifies us of any known vulnerabilities. Our employees have passed a cyber security awareness course provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and participate in ongoing training to identify and report phishing attempts.
See also: Florida Department of State's Elections Integrity Webpage