Gov. Rick Scott’s elections chief faced open hostility from Senate Republicans for a second time Thursday for opposing a bipartisan bill to allow online voter registration by 2017. Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Secretary of State Ken Detzner said that he doesn’t have a plan to implement the change and is worried about having to coordinate with 67 counties while his agency and the state highway safety department upgrade their databases — which are the backbone of the system used to verify voters’ identities. To placate Detzner, lawmakers pushed back the start of the online registration system to October 2017. But he’s still fighting a way to offer a new option to make it easier to register to vote that’s favored by every election supervisor, most legislators and the League of Women Voters.
“I would prefer to have a plan in place before I knew that I had an implementation date,” Detzner said. “This is too important to do it wrong.”
Detzner raised a flurry of potential problems, calling the plan “very high risk” and a “distraction” from next year’s presidential election. He cited “forces of evil” that he said try to disrupt Florida elections and that he would be dependent on agencies not under his control.
“It’s always high risk, whenever you’re dealing with anything in Florida relating to change,” Detzner told senators.