Our Voting System

Sarasota County uses a paper-based system of digital precinct scanners and high-speed central count optical scanners for voting and tabulation. We use the DS300 voter-activated scanners in the precincts and early voting locations to count ballots and tabulate votes, and the DS950 high-speed scanners in the elections office to tabulate vote-by-mail ballots. The precinct-based DS300 voting system is designed to provide accuracy and integrity throughout the voting and vote tabulation process. The DS950 is capable of processing 300 double-sided 14-inch ballots per minute. The voting equipment vendor is Elections Systems & Software.   

Marking Your Ballot

Hand of a person marking a Sarasota County demonstration ballotOptical scan voting is a user-friendly system that makes voting both fast and simple. Once your ballot is issued, you will be directed to a privacy booth to mark it in private. Using the pen provided at your polling place or early voting location, completely fill in the oval next to your choice on the ballot, as illustrated here.

If you make a mistake on your ballot, ask a poll worker for assistance before scanning the ballot. Important: Once the ballot is scanned, it is considered cast and cannot be retrieved.




Casting Your Ballot

An image of an optical scan ballot tabulatorAfter marking your ballot, take it to the tabulator and insert it into the optical scan reader on the top front of the tabulator. The scanning device reads the votes cast and deposits the voted ballot into a locked and sealed ballot box.     

The DS300 will notify the voter if a contest has been overvoted or if a ballot is totally blank, giving the voter an opportunity to correct the ballot before it is scanned. An overvote occurs when a voter selects more than the allowed number of choices in a particular contest.    

After the polls close, votes are tallied at each precinct and transmitted electronically directly to the data acquisition and reporting center in the elections office, where cumulative totals for vote-by-mail, early voting and election day are reported and posted on our website. 

The DS300 does not store any ballot data. All ballot data, election totals and ballot images are stored on an external USB flash drive, which is stored in a secure compartment.



ExpressVote Ballot Marking Device

Screen of the accessible ballot marking device


The ADA-friendly ExpressVote system combines ballot-marking technology with an integrated thermal printer to produce a paper record that is tabulated using the DS300 ballot scanner. The ExpressVote system allows Sarasota County voters with physical or visual disabilities to mark a readable, verifiable ballot card privately and independently and review their selections to verify that their vote was recorded accurately before submitting the card for tabulation. 

Voters with visual impairments have access to headphones that provide audio instructions and can use an audio-tactile keypad with braille legends to mark selections. Voters with physical disabilities can use a Sip-and-Puff device to guide them through the vote selection process with screen prompts, symbols and audio. 

Ron Turner, Supervisor of Elections, Sarasota County
EMAIL: rturner@sarasotavotes.gov • OFFICE HOURS: M-F, 8:30 AM - 5 PM • MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. Box 4194 Sarasota, FL 34230-4194
Terrace Building
101 S. Washington Blvd.
Sarasota, FL 34236

PHONE: (941) 861-8600
FAX: (941) 861-8609
ESPAÑOL: (833) 912-1316

Robert L. Anderson Administration Center
4000 S. Tamiami Trail, Rm 114
Venice, FL 34293

PHONE: (941) 861-3760
FAX: (941) 861-3770
ESPAÑOL: (833) 912-1316

Biscayne Plaza
13640 Tamiami Trail
North Port, FL 34287

PHONE: (941) 423-9540
FAX: (941) 423-9256
ESPAÑOL: (833) 912-1316

PLEASE NOTE: Under Florida law, email addresses are public records. If you do not want your email 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. Florida Statute 668.6076.