Concerns Over Limited Ballot Audits in Florida

In Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections, et al. v. Kurt Browning, et al., the Florida Supreme Court held that a home rule county could require post-election ballot audits under a county charter provision.  As a result of the Sarasota Alliance case, the Florida legislature promptly passed Fla. Stat. 97.0115, which preempted local election laws, including those requiring post-election ballot audits.  Now the only ballot audit that can be conducted by a local supervisor of elections is the limited audit described in Fla. Stat. 101.591 The statutory audit is discussed here , and as this article in the Palm Beach Post reports, some have expressed concerns regarding the limited nature of the audit.

Despite the limitations of the statutory audit, any candidate or member of the public can still conduct a ballot audit beyond the scope of the statutory audit by using the public records examination process.

Thomas D. Shults, Esq.

About Thomas D. Shults, Esq.

Tom Shults is a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer. He has represented clients in election and sunshine law issues, complex business and commercial disputes and probate and trust suits. He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1983 and has maintained an active trial practice in state and federal courts for over 35 years. Mr. Shults successfully represented the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections in Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections et al. v. Browning et al. , where the Florida Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of Sarasota County’s charter election law amendments. Mr. Shults has served on the Professional Ethics Committee of The Florida Bar and is the past Chairman of the Code and Rules of Evidence Committee of The Florida Bar. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Community Service Award of the Sarasota County Bar Association for his work with the Sarasota Mental Health Community Centers. In 2013 he was nominated for circuit court judge by the 12th Circuit Judicial Nominating Committee. Mr. Shults has served on the faculty of the Kessler-Eidson Program for Trial Techniques at Emory University School of Law and on the faculty of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy Program for Practicing Lawyers at Nova Southeastern University School of Law. Mr. Shults grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida and is a graduate of St. Petersburg High School (1973), Florida State University (B.S. 1977) and Washburn University School of Law (J.D. cum laude 1982). He is veteran of the United States Army.
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