Registering to vote could soon be as easy as logging onto a website and filling out an online form. The Legislature is currently considering a set of bills that would make Texas the 15th state to allow online registration access, said Smith County Elections Administrator Karen Nelson. Supporters of online voting registration said it would make it more convenient — just as Texas drivers can now renew their licenses online. Opponents said there’s a big risk of voter fraud. Fourteen states already utilize online voter registration, and there are five proposed bills to allow for it in Texas: House Bills 444, 446, 76 and 953 as well as Senate Bill 385. All of the bills are in committee.
The bills all require voters to have a current Texas ID or driver’s license and would use the Texas Department of Public Safety or Secretary of State websites, because those are secure portals.
The Smith County Elections Office regularly receives calls asking how to register. Ms. Nelson said the younger callers are sometimes bewildered that the process involves printing an application and mailing it in.
“We have one of the lowest voter registration numbers in the country,” Ms. Nelson said. “Texas is one of the lowest, and they are thinking with the young people, everyone is doing things online, so (the goal is to) say, ‘click on this link and in two seconds you can have your registration filled out.’”
Louisiana was the first state to enact the measure in 2006, said Meg Casper, press secretary for Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler.