Seeking to hold Gov. Rick Scott to a higher level of scrutiny should his administration call for a purge of Florida’s voting rolls in 2016, Democratic lawmakers have filed measures to mandate the listing of purged voters according to party affiliation. Under SB 736 and HB 523, election supervisors would be required to give the Florida Department of State bi-annual lists of purged Democrats, Republicans and those who belonged to other party affiliations in each of the state’s 67 counties. The Scott administration has been roundly criticized by election supervisors and voting rights groups for ordering a problem-riddled voter purge in 2012. From a list of roughly 180,000 voters the administration believed to be non-citizens and therefore illegally registered, just 85 were identified as such and removed from the voting rolls.
Florida: Auditor general’s report critical of how Florida handles voter information | Tampa Bay Times
A highly critical state audit casts new doubt on whether Florida is ready to count votes in the 2016 presidential election and puts added pressure on Gov. Rick Scott’s top elections official to show improvement. The report by the state auditor general, an independent officer hired by the Legislature, criticizes the Department of State for its handling of the voter registration database in the nation’s biggest electoral battleground, a state with nearly 12 million voters and a long history of controversy involving voting. “It’s troubling,” Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley said of the report, which was released late last week. The Florida agency is run by Secretary of State Ken Detzner, a Scott appointee and a former lobbyist with no previous expertise in election systems. He tried unsuccessfully last spring to kill legislation creating an online voter registration system, and issued ominous warnings to lawmakers that “forces of evil” could harm the database.
As Florida heads toward a historic presidential election cycle with two home state favorites running, those in charge of orchestrating convenient, snafu-free voting statewide have charged that the administration of Gov. Rick Scott too often works against them, rather than with them. The ongoing tension was on display in Orlando Wednesday, as Secretary of State Ken Detzner, Florida’s top elections official, addressed a conference of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections. Association leaders are still fuming over Detzner earlier this year trying to torpedo online voter registration in Florida, which is offered in at least 20 other states and had overwhelming bipartisan support. His opposition came after he told supervisors he supported the initiative.
Voters in more than half the states will soon be able to register online, rather than filling out a paper form and sending it in. Twenty states have implemented online voter registration so far, almost all in the past few years. Seven other states and the District of Columbia are now in the process of doing so. That includes Florida, where Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill last Friday requiring the state to allow online voter registration by 2017. Online voter registration has become so popular because election officials say it’s more efficient than a paper-based system, and cheaper. Voters like it because they can register any time of day from home, said David Becker, director of election initiatives for the Pew Charitable Trusts. “What election officials are finding, is they’re saving a ton of money, because they’re having to process a lot fewer pieces of paper by hand, right before an election, and get that into the system,” he said.
After months of debate in the state capitol and weeks of worrying in county election offices, Florida Governor Rick Scott has now signed legislation that will make the Sunshine State the latest to move toward online voter registration. … Florida’s experience on OVR is just the latest example of how the policy debate has shifted on election issues in recent years. At this time four years ago, the hot topic was voter ID and all the divisive partisan heat that brings. While ID legislation lives on in some legislatures – and clearly in many legislators’ hearts – OVR’s emergence as the new trend in legislatures is quite remarkable.
Florida will join nearly two dozen other states and make voter registration available online, but it won’t come before the crucial 2016 presidential election. Gov. Rick Scott today signed a bill that mandates online registration by October 2017. But Scott acknowledged he was approving the bill with “hesitation,” a nod to the criticism heaped on the proposal by the state’s top election official, who is appointed by the Republican governor. Secretary of State Ken Detzner chastised legislators for pushing online registration while the state is in the middle of replacing its statewide voter registration database and speculated that the “forces of evil” would hack into the new registration system.
Florida: Gov. Rick Scott with ‘some hesitation’ signs online voter registration law | Tampa Bay Times
Citing “some hesitation,” Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Friday that requires Florida to have an online voter registration system by 2017. The decision was a pleasant surprise to legislators and county election supervisors because Scott’s chief elections official, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, had run an aggressive one-man campaign to kill the proposal. In a signing letter, Scott expressed concern about “the timing of required deliverables” that coincide with ongoing efforts to upgrade the state voter database. “This system has been experiencing maintenance issues, which election supervisors have rightly cited as a challenge to their duties,” Scott wrote. Scott also raised the issue of cybersecurity, saying that added technology results in more challenges and vulnerabilities.
Governor Scott has little more than a week to decide on whether to approve a bill that would lead to online-voter registration in Florida. The bill was approved despite opposition from Secretary of State Ken Detzner. It is one of 68 bills that the Senate sent to Scott last week, triggering a May 22 deadline for the governor to sign, veto or allow the bills to become law without his signature, according to a list on the governor’s office website.
Florida: Despite pushback from Rick Scott admin, online voting bill goes to the governor’s desk | SaintPetersBlog
As part of an en masse drop of dozens of bills onto Gov. Rick Scott‘s desk courtesy of the Florida Senate, a bill to allow online voting registration sponsored by state Sen. Jeff Clemens now sits before the Governor’s Office, awaiting his review. Scott administration Secretary of State Ken Detzner openly opposed the measure, SB 228, as it wended its way through committee, saying it would interfere with already ongoing efforts to revamp the state’s voter rolls and registration system.
The Florida House agreed Tuesday to allow online voter registration but tacked on a provision aimed at heightening cyber-security — sending the measure back to the Senate for final approval. Secretary of State Ken Detzner, the state’s top elections official and an appointee of Gov. Rick Scott, has opposed the legislation, which sets online registration to begin in 2017. Detzner cautioned that problems could emerge with the measure that has drawn widespread support from lawmakers, county elections supervisors, and voter advocacy groups. The House approved the measure (CS/SB 228) 109-9 Tuesday. But the move came after Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, added a provision that authorizes the Scott administration to conduct a “comprehensive risk assessment” of online registration before the system is made available to the public.