Optical Scan FAQ

Why did Pasco choose optical scan voting equipment?

During the 2007 legislative session, a law was passed that mandated all Florida counties to replace touchscreen voting equipment with optical scan voting equipment.

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What type of voting system does Pasco County use?

Pasco County uses Election Systems & Software's (ES&S) optical scan paper ballot system, where votes are cast by filling in ovals, similar to the lottery or standardized tests.

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What is Optical Scan Voting?

An optical scan, or marksense, voting system allows a voter to record votes by making marks directly on a paper ballot in voting response locations. The ballot is then read into an optical scan reader, the DS200 at the polling place, or the high-speed DS850 reader for vote by mail ballots, where the votes are accumulated.

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What is the Optical Scan Voting process?

  1. Go to your polling place
  2. Show your photo/signature ID
  3. Receive your paper ballot and proceed to the privacy booth
  4. Complete your paper ballot by filling in the ovals next to your selections
  5. Insert your voted ballot through the optical scanner
    • If your ballot is marked correctly, the optical scanner will indicate your ballot was accepted, your vote was recorded, and will deposit your ballot into the locked ballot box.
    • The optical scanner only recognizes marks made inside of the ovals. If your ballot was not marked correctly (i.e. you made check marks, underlines, or circled your selections), the optical scanner may notify you that corrections may be necessary. You will be given the choice to accept the ballot as it is or have the ballot returned to you for correction.
    • If your ballot contains over votes (you mark more choices than allowed in a race) the optical scanner will notify you that corrections are necessary. If you choose to accept the ballot as it is, the over voted race will not be counted. If you choose to correct your ballot, you must notify the pollworker to receive a new ballot to mark.

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What is the DS200?

The DS200, developed by Election Systems & Software, is a high resolution image scanner that has exceptional mark recognition capability. The digital scanner captures digital ballot images and offers paper-based vote accumulation. It allows for more efficient accumulation and transmission of votes, directly from the polling place.

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What happens if I want to change a vote after I have marked my ballot?

If you have incorrectly marked your ballot, you must request a new ballot from the pollworker. Under Florida law, you are allowed up to two additional opportunities to receive a new ballot.

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How are ballots tabulated?

Throughout Election Day, the ballots are read into an optical scan reader, the DS200. When the polls close on Election Night, vote totals are transmitted from each precinct to the central tabulation site at the Election Services Center in Dade City. The vote by mail ballots are tabulated at the Election Services Center in Dade City on an optical ballot reader. These totals are compiled to produce official totals.

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Can I cast my vote prior to Election Day?

Yes, a qualified voter may vote early in person or by voting a vote by mail ballot. To vote early, a voter may visit one of eleven sites in various locations throughout Pasco County during the 8 to 14 day period prior to an election. The voter must present both picture and signature identification. A Florida driver license or identification card will meet those requirements.

A vote by mail ballot may be requested for a specific election or for all elections through the next two regularly scheduled general elections. The request can be made in person, by mail, by telephone, or online.

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What provisions have been made for people with disabilities?

An ExpressVote touchscreen terminal will be available for use at the polls. The ExpressVote is ADA compatible and features Braille-embossed navigation buttons and an audio ballot for the visually impaired. 

Brian E. Corley

Supervisor of Elections
Pasco County

Mailing Address:

PO Box 300, Dade City, FL 33526
M-F 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Under Florida law, F.S. 668.6076, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing.