The Florida House agreed Tuesday to allow online voter registration but tacked on a provision aimed at heightening cyber-security — sending the measure back to the Senate for final approval. Secretary of State Ken Detzner, the state’s top elections official and an appointee of Gov. Rick Scott, has opposed the legislation, which sets online registration to begin in 2017. Detzner cautioned that problems could emerge with the measure that has drawn widespread support from lawmakers, county elections supervisors, and voter advocacy groups. The House approved the measure (CS/SB 228) 109-9 Tuesday. But the move came after Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, added a provision that authorizes the Scott administration to conduct a “comprehensive risk assessment” of online registration before the system is made available to the public.
Rep. Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg, swung back, questioning timing of the change. “This is a thinly veiled attempt to kill this bill,” Dudley said.
Grant, however, disputed the charge, saying he was merely looking to “make this bill better.”
“We have plenty of time to get this thing right,” Grant added.
Indeed, Senate sponsor Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, said later that he endorsed Grant’s amendment. The Senate approved the measure 34-3 on Monday, and is likely to OK the amended bill before Friday’s scheduled adjournment, he said.