Florida Legislature approves online voter registration
Legislators in Florida approved a bill Wednesday authorizing the creation of a statewide system that allows citizens to register to vote online, but whether the bill is destined to become law remains in question.
Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, a Gov. Rick Scott appointee, has spoken out strongly against the new system that the Legislature approved. Detzner even testified against the bill before legislative committees, and said he wasn’t sure that the state could build and put the system in place by October 2017 — the mandated deadline by the legislation. Detzner has also warned that the new system could be hacked or tampered with by “the forces of evil,” according to a report in the Naples News.
Legislators from both sides of the aisle, however, brushed aside the secretary of state’s criticism and pointed out how the legislation delayed the deadline for the system’s rollout until after the 2016 election, due to Detzner’s concerns. The final bill also calls for a risk assessment by state technology officials before the system goes live.
State Sen. Jeff Clemens, a Democrat and one of the prime sponsors of the bill, said the state should have little problem following the other 20 states that have already put online voting registration in place. Clemens called the state’s current registration system “archaic” — voters are required to get a form, either in person or online, fill it out and mail it to election officials.
“That makes no sense whatsoever,” Clemens said.
Despite Detzner’s opposition, Clemens said he remained “hopeful” that the governor would still sign the bill.
“I think we have done a good job of answering every concern about this along the way,” Clemens said.