The Florida Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would bring part of the state’s elections system into the Internet age, sending an online voter registration plan to Gov.Rick Scott. The Senate voted 37-3 to adopt Sen. Jeff Clemens’ SB 228, which would allow voters to apply and update their voter registrations using a website designed by the state Division of Elections within the Department of State. Voter information would be checked against Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles records. Then the application would be sent to a local supervisor of elections.
Florida would join 21 other states with similar systems. Clemens, a Lake Worth Democrat, said the bill saves citizens money on postage and the state the cost of having to input information.
“I’m ecstatic. I think it’s high time we caught up with much of the rest of the nation,” he said. “It’s a lot more secure and saves everybody money. It’s good government atwork.” Before passing the bill, the Senate adopted a House amendment that requires the system to meet state IT security provisions and for the Division of Elections to conduct regular risk assessments.
Clemens expects Scott to sign the bill. “I know (Scott) has reservations but reservations are different than opposition,” he said. “I think we addressed many of those reservations that the secretary of state had in the bill.” Secretary of State Ken Detzner has testified against the bill, saying his office faces obstacles in bringing together various agencies to create the database.
Clemens said the agency has been given plenty of time and money to complete the project. The system sets aside $1.8 million in trust fund money and would not need to be created until Oct. 1, 2017.
Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, who pushed his own online voter registration bill, said he’s excited the bill passed.
“At the end of the day the citizens of the state of Florida are the beneficiaries,” he said. “This now gives them that passport to be part of the democratic process.”
Original article here.