Senate in Florida backs online voter registration

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THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

With sponsor Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, saying the process would be secure and save money, the Senate on Monday overwhelmingly approved a bill (SB 228) that would lead to online voter registration in Florida.

Senators voted 34-3 for the proposal, with Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton, and Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, opposed. The House version of the bill (HB 7143) is ready for a floor vote.

Under the Senate bill, people would be able to submit voter-registration applications online starting in October 2017. It would require the state Division of Elections to set up a secure website for the process and would use driver’s license records to verify information.

Clemens said 24 other states have online-voter registration. But Secretary of State Ken Detzner, Florida’s top elections official, has expressed opposition to the bill.

That opposition stems, at least in part, from being required to meet the deadline for the online-voter system. Also, Detzner told lawmakers this month the system would have to be built to ward off cyber-attacks from “forces of evil.”

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