Florida took another step toward becoming the 28th state to approve some form of online voter registration system Tuesday after legislation cleared the House with broad bipartisan support. The bill is strongly supported by local supervisors of elections, including those in Sarasota and Manatee counties. It tasks the state Division of Elections with developing a secure website for processing new voter registrations and updates to existing voter records. The legislation passed the Senate 34-3 on Monday but must go back for another vote after House Republicans added additional security measures to the proposal Tuesday.
Some House members worried that the security amendment would stall the bill in the Senate, but Senate bill sponsor Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, said after the House vote that he is comfortable with the amended legislation. He expects the House version of the bill to clear his chamber and head to the governor’s office, where it faces an uncertain future.
Gov. Rick Scott’s top elections official, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, has repeatedly criticized the legislation. Clemens said he has modified the bill to alleviate Detzner’s concerns and avoid a Scott veto, including pushing back implementation of the legislation to 2017 rather than try to get online voter registration in place for the 2016 presidential election.