Florida’s new online voter registration form violates the very state law that created it, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher said Tuesday. “The law requires no differences [between in-person registration and] online,” Bucher told the Palm Beach Legislative Delegation. “But in the online program, voters must provide their exact name from the Department of Highway Safety and the last four digits of their Social Security number, and the date of issuance [of their driver’s license].” In-person registrants can provide either their Social Security number or their driver’s license number but do not need to supply both. With much fanfare, the Florida Department of State debuted online voter registration at the beginning of October. The online registration system was created under a bill passed by the Florida Legislature in 2015. That bill was filed by state Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, a member of the Palm Beach Legislative Delegation.
“When I wrote the law, I was concerned with making sure the registrations that were performed online weren’t treated any differently than those that were handed in on paper,” Clemens said. “So I didn’t really contemplate that they would ask for different information from online registrants.”
Nevertheless, the new online voter registration form could be a violation of the letter of the law despite Clemens’ intent.
The Department of State disagrees.
“The department is well within the requirements of the statute,” said spokeswoman Sarah Revell. “Additional fields of information, such as the issued date of a Florida driver license or state ID card, provides another layer of protection against voter identity theft as this information should only be known by the individual registering to vote.”