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Florida Timeline for Reporting and Certification of 2016 General Election Results

Tallahassee –

In Florida, the timeline and procedures by which county canvassing boards report results to the Department of State, and the process by which results are certified, are determined by several provisions in state law (Sections 102.141, 102.112, 102.111, and 102.151 Florida Statutes). On Election Night, preliminary returns are reported to the Department after polls close and will be available for download beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern on the Florida Election Watch website.

Preliminary returns reported to the state on Election Night are not the official election results. Official returns are due to the Department of State from county canvassing boards no later than noon on November 20. These official results will be certified at a meeting of the Florida Elections Canvassing Commission at 9 a.m. on November 22 at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee. The Elections Canvassing Commission consists of the Governor and two members of the Florida Cabinet selected by the Governor (Section 102.111, Florida Statutes).

Florida’s timeline for the reporting and certification of election results, which includes the process for possible recounts for any races on the ballot (Sections 102.141(7) and 102.166, Florida Statutes and Rules 1S-2.031 ,1S-2.027 and 1S-2.051, Florida Administrative Code), is as follows:

 

FLORIDA TIMELINE FOR REPORTING AND CERTIFICATION OF ELECTION RESULTS

November 8             GENERAL ELECTION DAY

Preliminary Election Night Returns are due no later than 7:30 pm in the respective county’s time zone on General Election night (Tuesday, November 8) and in 45-minute increments thereafter until all results (except provisional ballots) are completely reported. (Section 102.141, Florida Statutes)

Note: Pursuant to Section 101.048, Florida Statutes, November 10 is the deadline for persons voting a provisional ballot to provide evidence of eligibility to Supervisors of Elections.

November 12           Unofficial Returns are due from the county canvassing boards no later than noon on Saturday, November 12. The Secretary of State and Division of Elections will subsequently determine if the returns for any federal, state, or multicounty races or issues on the ballot meet the statutory threshold requiring a machine recount. (Section 102.141, Florida Statutes)

The Secretary of State will order any Machine Recount, if required, for federal, state or multicounty races as determined by statutory thresholds (see below). The results from the machine recount constitute the 2nd set of unofficial returns. (Section 102.141(7), Florida Statutes)

Note: For all other races, the county canvassing board or the local board responsible for certifying the election are responsible for ordering recounts.

November 17           If a Machine Recount is ordered, Second Unofficial Returns are due from the county canvassing boards no later than 3 p.m. on November 17. The Secretary of State and Division of Elections will subsequently determine if the returns for any federal, state, or multicounty races or issues on the ballot meet the statutory threshold requiring a manual recount.

The Secretary of State will order any Manual Recount, if required, for federal, state or multicounty races as determined by statutory thresholds (see below). (Section 102.166, Florida Statutes)

Note: For all other races, the county canvassing board or the local board responsible for certifying the election are responsible for ordering recounts.

November 18           Ballots from overseas uniformed service members and overseas civilians (UOCAVA voters) must be received by November 18. Ballots must be postmarked or signed and dated no later than the date of the General Election. (Section 101.6952(5), Florida Statutes)

November 20           Official Returns are due from the county canvassing boards no later than noon on November 20. (Section 102.112, Florida Statutes)

November 22           The Elections Canvassing Commission meets to certify the Official Returns for federal, state, and multicounty offices at 9 a.m. on November 22 at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee. The Elections Canvassing Commission consists of the Governor and two members of the Florida Cabinet selected by the Governor (Section 102.111, Florida Statutes).

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

In Florida, recounts for any races or issues (such as constitutional amendments) on the ballot, are determined by statutory thresholds following receipt of the first Unofficial Returns, which are due from the county canvassing boards no later than noon on Saturday, November 12.

 

According to Florida law, recounts must be ordered by the Florida Secretary of State, or a county canvassing board, before a recount can be initiated. For federal, state, and multicounty races, only the Florida Secretary of State may order a recount. For all other races on the ballot, such as sheriff and superintendent of schools, only the respective county canvassing board may order a recount. No one other than the Florida Secretary of State or a county canvassing board can order a recount. All recounts are open to the public and conducted by the respective county canvassing board(s). Public notice of any possible recount(s) will be provided by the entity that orders the recount.

 

Machine Recount

  • A Machine Recount  occurs if the 1st set of unofficial returns indicates that a candidate was defeated or eliminated by ½ of 1% or less of the total votes cast for an office, or if an issue (such as a constitutional amendment) was approved or rejected by ½ of 1% or less of the total votes cast on the issue. (Section 102.141(7), Florida Statutes and Rule 1S-2.031, Florida Administrative Code)
  • The Machine Recount means all ballots are re-tabulated, or “re-fed,” through a county’s precinct tabulators and/or central count tabulators.
  • Ballots with “overvotes” and “undervotes” in the affected race(s) are subsequently “set-aside” in case a manual recount occurs.
  • Exception to ordering a machine recount: If the candidate(s) defeated or eliminated from contention for the office by ½ of 1% or less request in writing that a machine recount not be conducted.
  • Results: The results from the machine recount constitutes the 2nd set of unofficial returns.
  • Definitions:
    • Overvote: Voter designated more choices than allowable in the recounted race(s) on their ballot.
    • Undervote: Voter made no choice or fewer than number of allowable choices in the recounted race(s) on their ballot.

 

Manual Recount of Overvotes and Undervotes

  • A Manual Recount occurs if the 2nd set of unofficial returns indicates that a candidate was eliminated or defeated by ¼ of 1% or less of the votes cast for the office, or if an issue was approved or rejected by ¼ of 1% or less of the total votes cast on the issue. (Section 102.166, Florida Statutes and Rules 1S-2.027 and Rule 1S-2.051, Florida Administrative Code)
  • The Manual Recount is a hand recount of “overvotes” and “undervotes” set-aside from the machine recount.
  • Exceptions to ordering a manual recount:
    • If the candidate(s) defeated or eliminated from contention for the office by ¼ of 1% or less request in writing that it not be conducted; OR
    • If the number of “overvotes” and “undervotes” is less than the number of votes needed to change the election outcome.
  • Results: The results from the manual recount will be reflected in the Official Returns due to the state on November 20.