Florida bill would implement online voter registration

Online Voter RegistrationIn Florida a bill enabling online voter registration has drawn both praise and criticism. Proponents see it as a cost saving measure and a means of increasing accuracy on voter rolls. Some voters, however, worry about pitfalls.

One individual posting on outgoing Duval County elections supervisor Jerry Holland’s Facebook page asked, intentionally typing in all capital letters, “HOW DO YOU VERIFY CITIZENSHIP?” Another individual wanted to know if the system could be hacked.

As with any other technology, online registration may, if enabled, present unforeseen glitches down the road. However, if the pros and cons are considered, such a process might not only lower costs; according to Holland, accuracy and security would definitely increase.

Holland agreed to an interview with Watchdog Arena by email. The popular official, whose next post is serving as property appraiser for the county, doesn’t hesitate to share his enthusiasm for a change in registration procedures. “This will be a much more secure registration system than what we presently have in place with paper registration,” he said.

It’s helpful to visualize the current process. Holland pointed out that the system now “operates on an oath or an honor system.” The registrant checks a box declaring he or she is a U.S. citizen, not a felon, and isn’t adjudicated as mentally incapacitated. The registrant signs the form and declares the information as true and accurate. The form is then turned in and processed. The individual’s name is then added to the voter rolls.

“It is only during a voter maintenance window that eligibility or residence may be questioned,” said Holland. If it is questioned, the individual must be notified and given time to respond. “This process,” said Holland, “involves several rounds of mail and in some cases public notices alerting the voter to the question of their eligibility and giving the voter a chance to respond.”

According to Holland, who served in his post for ten years, the current process of managing incomplete forms is “lengthy and costly.”

How would the system work with online registration?

Read more at Watchdog.org.

By Kay B. Day


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