This past May, Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation to require Florida to adopt online voter registration by October 2017, though he said he did it with “some hesitation.”
Democrats were unhappy the state couldn’t enact the new system in time for this fall’s general election, but if it were up to Secretary of State Ken Detzner it wouldn’t happen at all. Detzner vehemently expressed opposition to the bill last year, but he told a Senate committee Wednesday that the system will be working by next year.
“Last year I made a promise that I would commit 110 percent to the online voter registration development,” Detzner told the Senate Committee on Ethics and Elections. “Our team and I have followed through on that promise.”
Detzner said the timeline for online voter registration system is still on schedule to begin in October 2017. He reminded lawmakers that security remains his top priority: “We are doing everything we can to ensure that Florida voters have a reliable and secure network, and our consulting cyber security experts.”
Detzner’s office issued a progress report on to Scott, Senate President Andy Gardiner, and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli on Dec. 31. It noted that once the system is launched, Florida would join 26 other states, including California and New York, in operating online voter-registration systems. Florida’s system is being built by the Department of State, the 67 county supervisors of election, and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Scott referred to his fear of cyber attacks when he signed the bill last year. Election officials noted Wednesday that as part of their concurrent voter-registration modernization effort, the state has installed new hardware with “the latest state-of-the art equipment reflecting the choice of major data centers in the public and private sectors.”
Officials said there are now nearly 12 million registered voters in the state. Detzner said that while working on online voter registration and the voter-registration modernization effort, his office is working hard on being prepared for the presidential primary election taking place March 15.