Gov. Rick Scott’s top elections official came under intense criticism Wednesday for fighting the Legislature’s plan to allow people in Florida to register to vote online by 2017. Secretary of State Ken Detzner, a Scott appointee, appeared before House and Senate committees to oppose the idea, calling online registration a “flashing yellow light” fraught with security risks. Twenty other states have already implemented online voter registration, four more are doing so and the idea has unanimous support from Florida’s 67 county election supervisors, who say it will save money and increase the pool of potential voters.
Detzner did not testify before a House committee, which passed the online registration bill with only one dissenting vote. When he testified before a Senate panel, which approved it unanimously, the chairman blasted Detzner for “slow-walking” an idea that has overwhelming bipartisan support.
“You didn’t have to come today. You weren’t invited to come,” said Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, glaring at Detzner. “I think the patience of the Legislature on this issue has been stretched.”
As Detzner ticked off the reasons why he believed the state could not implement online voter registration by 2017, Latvala can clearly be heard whispering, “This is so much bulls—,” according to the videotape of the hearing on the Florida Channel website.