Your vote matters. At the Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office, election integrity is our number one goal. We strive to make sure we count your vote accurately and that no fraud takes place.
Read this page to learn about the many safeguards in the Florida elections process which keep our votes secure.
Planning for the Election
All voting in Florida is done using a paper ballot. If there ever is a problem, we can always review the paper ballots to make sure that the results are accurate. We are required by law to keep the ballots after each election for at least 22 months. The paper ballots are a public record, so after the election anyone can ask for copies of the ballots and confirm that the results are correct.
Voting Machine Testing
The Florida Department of State tests and certifies all voting machines used in Florida. We only use machines that the Department of State has certified. The machines currently used in Florida have gone through rigorous auditing and recounts over many election cycles. Before each election, we test every voting machine again. During the testing, we run hundreds of ballots through each machine to make sure that they are working correctly and counting each vote accurately. This testing is open to candidates, media, and members of the public. This way, you can be sure that the voting system will count your vote correctly.
Voter Registration Verification
Before you can vote, you must first register to vote. As part of registering, you must give us identifying information, such as your Florida driver’s license number or the last four digits of your social security number. We check this information to make sure that you are a real, living person, who meets the requirements to register. Once registered, we use official information to maintain an up-to-date database of voters. If a voter loses their right to vote, dies, or registers to vote in another state, we remove them from the voter rolls in Florida.
We take physical security of our equipment and records very seriously. We keep all sensitive election materials behind locked doors and under 24-hour camera surveillance. Strict chain-of-custody rules ensure that only authorized staff have access to machines, equipment, and ballots. We use one-time security seals on voting machines, ballot transport bags, and other equipment to confirm that no tampering has taken place.
Cybersecurity is just as important as physical security. We use state-of-the-art hardware and software to monitor our networks to ensure that no outside interference is occurring. The most sensitive hardware, such as voting machines, is never connected to the internet. All our staff receive ongoing training to harden our office against online attacks.
Running the Election
Florida law requires that you bring photo ID when you vote in person during Early Voting or on Election Day. When you go to vote, we check your identification, confirm you are registered to vote, and make sure you have not already voted in the election. If you tried to vote in person, but you were not eligible or had already voted, then you would not be able to vote.
We do not mail out Vote-by-Mail ballots to every voter automatically. Instead, you must first be a registered voter and then you must request your Vote-by-Mail ballot. When you Vote-by-Mail, you must return your ballot in the special return envelope, and you must sign it. Once we receive it, we compare your signature on the envelope to the signature in your voter registration record and make sure they match. Then, we update your record so you cannot vote again in that election. You can track the status of your ballot through the entire process by visiting our website. That way, you can see that your ballot has been requested, mailed, and counted.
Nearly every part of the election is open to outside observers, as transparency is critical to maintain trust. Political organizations and candidates can appoint “poll watchers” to monitor voting at Early Voting sites and Election Day polling places. If the poll watcher suspects that someone is not eligible to vote, they can file a challenge against the voter’s eligibility. When we open and count Vote-by-Mail ballots anyone can view the process. In Florida, almost all government documents are public records that are open to inspection or copying. This includes records related to voter registration and voting. Anyone can view a copy of the voter registration list to make sure it is accurate or look at copies of ballots to confirm the results. Sensitive information, such as your driver’s license number or Social Security Number, is protected and cannot be viewed or released. Your signature can be viewed, but not copied.
As election workers, we swear an oath to protect the Constitutions of the United States and of Florida. We do not work for a political party or a candidate. Instead, we serve you, the voters of Leon County. We work with integrity and transparency to ensure your vote is counted fairly and impartially. We are also members of your community. The poll workers at your polling place are your neighbors, friends, and family members. We serve to protect your right to vote and have your vote counted accurately. Our democracy depends on it.
Confirming the Election Results
At the end of 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. This nightly accounting process is open to the public. We take similar steps when counting Vote-by-Mail ballots to make sure that each ballot received balances back to a voter. No ballot is counted unless it comes from a registered voter.
After every election, we audit the election results. In most Florida counties, the audit examines a sample of ballots. Here in Leon County, we pioneered a process using a second certified system to perform a 100% audit of every election. We double check every vote, on every ballot, from every voter to make sure that the results are 100% accurate. Essentially, we perform a 100% recount of every election using a completely separate system to make certain that every paper ballot has been counted accurately. Over the course of hundreds of races in Leon County, the auditing system has confirmed the results of each election. The audit is open to the public.
Florida law requires that we hold a recount whenever the election results are very close. If the unofficial results show that a race was decided by ½% or less, election officials recount the ballots by machine. However, here in Leon County we recount every race, on every ballot, in every election to always verify the accuracy of the machine count. If the results of the machine recount show that that a race was decided by ¼% or less, we move on to a manual recount. In the manual recount, we review all the ballots where the voting machines found either no votes or too many votes in a race. We do this to make certain that we count even poorly marked votes and that nothing has been missed. The outcome of the recount is part of the official election results. The recount process ensures that during a close election everyone can be confident that their vote was counted properly, and the results are accurate. Recounts are open to the public.
Independent Election Board
The most important functions of the election, such as reviewing ballots, certifying results, and overseeing recounts are the responsibility of the County Canvassing Board. The Canvassing Board is an independent board, made up of the Chair of the Board of County Commissioners, a County Court Judge, and the Supervisor of Elections. This ensures that critical decisions about the election are made by a group rather than a single person. Members cannot serve if they have a conflict of interest.
If you have questions about election security, please contact us at (850) 606-8683 or at Vote@LeonVotes.gov