At the same time Florida election supervisors are looking at how to bring online voter registration to the state, the chance of legislative action on the issue went from tiny to nonexistent this week. The senator pushing online registration withdrew his bill amidst doubts it could pass the full Legislature. Ask the question “Should Florida voters be able to register online?” and you’ll get different answers from different people. Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) says yes. “With 19 other states already doing this, we’re already behind the ball,” he told the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee Monday. But incoming Senate President and Orlando Republican Andy Gardiner, says not yet. “It may be a bill that’s just not ready for prime time,” he said, referring to Clemens’ bill.
But Hendry County Elections Supervisor Brenda Hoots says online registration is clearly on the horizon. “I think it’s most likely a way of the future,” she says.
Hoots says a large percentage of her county’s roughly 16,000 voters register in person at DMV offices. “We always have to keep in mind everybody doesn’t have the Internet,” she says. “We’re a very rural county.”
Nonetheless, she says she’d support giving people the option to log on to a website and register. Now, the closest option is signing a registration form printed from a home computer.