You may have heard the word "canvassing" lately as it relates to election integrity. The Florida canvass process protects your vote. Each election in Florida requires a Canvassing Board for oversight and certification of the electoral process. The official election canvass is conducted in each county pursuant to Florida Statutes and Rules of the Florida Administrative Code. The duties of the Board can be summarized in three main points:
- To certify the voting equipment correctly counts votes cast for all offices and on all measures
- To verify the accuracy and validity of all votes cast
- To submit the official returns to the Department of State
County Canvassing Board Members
The County Canvassing Board is composed of the Supervisor of Elections, a County Court Judge who shall act as chair, and the chair of the Board of County Commissioners. Members of the Board may not be a candidate in the election being canvassed, and they may not be an active participant in the campaign or candidacy of any candidate.
Public Test of Voting Equipment
The voting equipment must be tested publicly using a pre-determined set of results. Each Canvassing Board member verifies the results and must certify to the accuracy of the test.
Canvass of Mail Ballots & Provisional Ballots
The Canvassing Board must account for all mail ballots and provisional ballots. The Board reviews each referred ballot and makes a determination whether to accept or reject the ballot based upon a voter’s eligibility. All ballot envelopes are opened and ballots are tabulated in public view.
Automatic and Machine Recounts
The Canvassing Board orders an automatic recount if the unofficial returns reflect that a local candidate or measure was defeated or eliminated by one-half of a percent or less of the votes cast for such office or measure. A machine recount may also be necessary.
Audit of the Voting System
Immediately following the certification of each election, the Canvassing Board is required to audit the election. In Flagler County, we conduct a manual (hand count) of ballots in a randomly selected precinct.
Submission of Election Returns
The Canvassing Board must reconcile and verify received tabulations to transmitted tabulations and submit the returns to the Department of State. Such returns shall include the canvass of Election Day precinct, early voting, vote-by-mail, overseas vote-by-mail, write-in votes, and provisional ballots. The Canvassing Board must also report on the conduct of the election and certify the official results.
All Canvassing Board meetings are open to the public and you are encouraged to attend!