(1) Any candidate for nomination or election, or any elector qualified to vote in the election related to such candidacy, shall have the right to protest the returns of the election as being erroneous by filing with the appropriate canvassing board a sworn, written protest.
(2) Such protest shall be filed with the canvassing board prior to the time the canvassing board certifies the results for the office being protested or within 5 days after midnight of the date the election is held, whichever occurs later.
(3) Before canvassing the returns of the election, the canvassing board shall:
(a) When paper ballots are used, examine the tabulation of the paper ballots cast.
(b) When voting machines are used, examine the counters on the machines of nonprinter machines or the printer-pac on printer machines. If there is a discrepancy between the returns and the counters of the machines or the printer-pac, the counters of such machines or the printer-pac shall be presumed correct.
(c) When electronic or electromechanical equipment is used, the canvassing board shall examine precinct records and election returns. If there is a clerical error, such error shall be corrected by the county canvassing board. If there is a discrepancy which could affect the outcome of an election, the canvassing board may recount the ballots on the automatic tabulating equipment.
(4)(a) Any candidate whose name appeared on the ballot, any political committee that supports or opposes an issue which appeared on the ballot, or any political party whose candidates' names appeared on the ballot may file a written request with the county canvassing board for a manual recount. The written request shall contain a statement of the reason the manual recount is being requested.
(b) Such request must be filed with the canvassing board prior to the time the canvassing board certifies the results for the office being protested or within 72 hours after midnight of the date the election was held, whichever occurs later.
(c) The county canvassing board may authorize a manual recount. If a manual recount is authorized, the county canvassing board shall make a reasonable effort to notify each candidate whose race is being recounted of the time and place of such recount.
(d) The manual recount must include at least three precincts and at least 1 percent of the total votes cast for such candidate or issue. In the event there are less than three precincts involved in the election, all precincts shall be counted. The person who requested the recount shall choose three precincts to be recounted, and, if other precincts are recounted, the county canvassing board shall select the additional precincts.
(5) If the manual recount indicates an error in the vote tabulation which could affect the outcome of the election, the county canvassing board shall:
(a) Correct the error and recount the emaining precincts with the vote tabulation system;
(b) Request the Department of State to verify the tabulation software; or
(c) Manually recount all ballots.
(6) Any manual recount shall be open to the public.
(7) Procedures for a manual recount are as follows:
(a) The county canvassing board shall appoint as many counting teams of at least two electors as is necessary to manually recount the ballots. A counting team must have, when possible, members of at least two political parties. A candidate involved in the race shall not be a member of the counting team.
(b) If a counting team is unable to determine a voter's intent in casting a ballot, the ballot shall be presented to the county canvassing board for it to determine the voter's intent.
(8) If the county canvassing board determines the need to verify the tabulation software, the county canvassing board shall request in writing that the Department of State verify the software.
(9) When the Department of State verifies such software, the department shall:
(a) Compare the software used to tabulate the votes with the software filed with the Department of State pursuant to s. 101.5607; and
(b) Check the election parameters.
(10) The Department of State shall respond to the county canvassing board within 3 working days.
COURTESY: Florida Secretary of State