An eye-opening new report by the well-respected, longtime election organization, Florida Fair Elections Coalition (FFEC)

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DELAND, FL – (Nov. 1) An eye-opening new report by the well-respected, longtime election organization, Florida Fair Elections Coalition (FFEC), predicts that thousands of voters are about to accidentally lose their votes in the 2022 Governor’s race, just as tens of thousands of voters have lost their votes in that race since 2010. These votes are lost because some voters mistakenly vote for more than one candidate in the Governor’s race, something that typically happens only in the Governor’s race and the Presidential race.

“This type of mistake is called ‘overvoting’ and happens when the voter is confused by the layout or instructions on the ballot,” explained FFEC director Susan Pynchon. “An overvote is a lost vote. If a voter selects two candidates in a race where only one candidate is supposed to be selected, there is usually no way to know which candidate the voter intended to choose so neither vote counts.  Because this is a fairly common and preventable voter error, the voting machines used for in-person voting are supposed to provide overvote protection; that is, they are supposed to alert the voter and allow the ballot to be corrected. Unfortunately, the machines used by 92% of Florida’s in-person voters are not effective at preventing this error.”

FFEC first issued reports in 2008 on Florida's overvote problem, based on extensive study and analysis by Research Director Mary K. “Kitty” Garber.  Ms. Garber’s original reports, based on her examination of actual overvoted ballots, described the effects and possible causes of excessive overvotes and detailed steps the Secretary of State and Division of Elections could take to correct the problem. FFEC’s current report is an update on Ms. Garber’s earlier research.

“It’s been 14 years since I first studied and reported on this issue,” Garber said, “but nothing has changed. The state has not taken the necessary steps to prevent the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of voters even though its own data clearly shows the problem.”

In 2018, the state reported 23,299 overvotes in the Governor’s race, which was decided by 32,463 votes.  The actual number of overvotes was much higher, a phenomenon that is explained in FFEC’s report. If the results are close In the Governor’s race on November 8, overvotes could be the deciding factor.  And even if this race isn’t close, a future Governor’s race or Presidential race might be.

Meanwhile, FFEC is asking Florida’s Supervisors of Elections (SOEs) to make sure poll workers inform voters who overvote that their vote is about to be lost unless they correct their ballot. SOEs could also post a notice at the voting machine telling a voter to ask for poll worker assistance if they get the overvote warning screen. And they could post notices in voting booths on Election Day reminding voters to fill in only one oval in the Governor’s race.

“The overvote situation in the Governor's race needs to be corrected by the state,” Pynchon said. “The only other race that also consistently has thousands of overvotes is the Presidential race.  The state must address the overvote problem before the 2024 election.”

To find out more about this problem, the voting system that fails to prevent it, and the state’s failure to address it, access our informative report at or on Florida Fair Elections Coalition’s website home page at