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Scott fighting against online Voter Registration in Florida

Roger Caldwell

Roger Caldwell

Scott fighting against online Voter Registration in Florida

By Roger Caldwell

There are now 24 states that have online voter registration, and Florida would make 25. There are nearly 75 percent of individuals in the United States who live in a household with internet access. This is an idea that makes sense, but Governor Scott is against this initiative.

Last week in the legislative session, the bill for online voter registration was passed in the Senate, and it will probably be passed in the House also. There are 24 states to use as a model with best practices to set up Florida’s online voter registration. In Florida, we bank, we do taxes, renew licenses and tags online, so there is no reason voting registration cannot also be done online.

Once the House passes online voter registration, the only person that can stop the process is the governor with a veto. Last week, Governor Scott issued a report that outlined the risks and problems of managing an online voting registration. This report is an initial indicator of his position on online voter registration.

“Malicious cyber attacks and non-malicious malfunctions could potentially wreak havoc on an online voter registration system. Given the increasing prevalence of identity theft, an online voter registration system could potentially increase the chances of votes being cast by someone other than the people actually registered to vote,” the report said.

It is obvious that the report is focused on the negative aspects of an online system because there are always a minor percentage of hackers and scam artists that will take advantage of the system. But the majority of the voters using the system will operate with valid passwords and accounts when they register to vote. Most people trust voting machines, even though they are computers that can be altered or changed.

The world is going through a radical shift and everything is going digital. Governor Scott can fight change with limited thinking, or he can be a leader who embraces technology and the new digital world.

Online voter registration verification at the state level can be done at the polls, but Florida also needs to update its voting system with electronic voting. With electronic voting, Florida would become digital, and online security would be easier to implement. There would initially be a massive amount of work to educate and teach the residents on how to use an entirely new digital system, and the implementation cost must be determined.

This massive initiative would only get done with a positive attitude from the governor and his administration, and the will of everyone engaged in the process. At this point, the legislature is calling Scott’s response to online voting registration “perplexing and inaccurate.”

Online voter registration and electronic voting is what Florida needs to make the system digital. Floridians are sick and tired of being embarrassed by our governor, and being laughed at by the world with our voting debacles. With a technical and digital mindset when it comes to voting, Florida can be a leader instead of a follower.

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