Florida: State Could Allow Counties To Use A Different System When Recounting Voter Ballots In Elections | Robert Gaffney/WFSU

When elections are close, voter ballots are recounted. First by machine and if the results are still slim, by hand. It’s a process Rep. Cord Byrd (R-Jacksonville Beach) remembers during the 2018 election. Byrd says he saw that election’s recount in Duval County. “We’re in a room, and you’ve got dozens of people and tables spread around and tens of thousands of ballots out, and all it takes is one stray mark to spoil a paper ballot,” Byrd says. Now, Byrd is backing a bill that would allow election staff to use a system, currently used for auditing,  for machine and manual recounts too. Right now, for manual recounts, election staff have to sort through ballots by hand. Byrd says the technology he’s proposing is already approved by the state. Currently, voting systems can make digital copies of paper ballots. Still, Leon County’s Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley says those copies are hard to access and don’t have any sorting capability. The auditing system Byrd wants the state to use keeps an inventory of all paper ballots and makes them easier to find so staff can cross-check them with digital copies. Earley says he’s been working with the technology for 11 years.