(1) If the second set of unofficial returns pursuant to s. 102.141 indicates that a candidate for any office was defeated or eliminated by one-quarter of a percent or less of the votes cast for such office, that a candidate for retention to a judicial office was retained or not retained by one-quarter of a percent or less of the votes cast on the question of retention, or that a measure appearing on the ballot was approved or rejected by one-quarter of a percent or less of the votes cast on such measure, a manual recount of the overvotes and undervotes cast in the entire geographic jurisdiction of such office or ballot measure shall be ordered unless:
(a) The candidate or candidates defeated or eliminated from contention by one-quarter of 1 percent or fewer of the votes cast for such office request in writing that a recount not be made; or
(b) The number of overvotes and undervotes is fewer than the number of votes needed to change the outcome of the election.
The Secretary of State is responsible for ordering a manual recount for federal, state, and multicounty races. The county canvassing board or local board responsible for certifying the election is responsible for ordering a manual recount for all other races.
(2)(a) Any hardware or software used to identify and sort overvotes and undervotes for a given race or ballot measure must be certified by the Department of State as part of the voting system pursuant to s. 101.015. Any such hardware or software must be capable of simultaneously counting votes. (b) Overvotes and undervotes shall be identified and sorted while recounting ballots pursuant to s. 102.141, if the hardware or software for this purpose has been certified or the department’s rules so provide.
(3) Any manual recount shall be open to the public.
(4)(a) A vote for a candidate or ballot measure shall be counted if there is a clear indication on the ballot that the voter has made a definite choice.
(b) The Department of State shall adopt specific rules for each certified voting system prescribing what constitutes a “clear indication on the ballot that the voter has made a definite choice.” The rules may not:
1. Exclusively provide that the voter must properly mark or designate his or her choice on the ballot; or
2. Contain a catch-all provision that fails to identify specific standards, such as “any other mark or indication clearly indicating that the voter has made a definite choice.”
(5) 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) Each duplicate ballot prepared pursuant to s. 101.5614(5) or s. 102.141(7) shall be compared with the original ballot to ensure the correctness of the duplicate.
(c) If a counting team is unable to determine whether the ballot contains a clear indication that the voter has made a definite choice, the ballot shall be presented to the county canvassing board for a determination.
(d) The Department of State shall adopt detailed rules prescribing additional recount procedures for each certified voting system which shall be uniform to the extent practicable. The rules shall address, at a minimum, the following areas:
1. Security of ballots during the recount process;
2. Time and place of recounts;
3. Public observance of recounts;
4. Objections to ballot determinations;
5. Record of recount proceedings; and
6. Procedures relating to candidate and petitioner representatives.