A week after Florida rolled out its new online voter registration system, the president of the state association representing election supervisors says she is “very pleased” with with the way the new system has been received and how it has performed.
“To my knowledge, we’ve not had any issues. I have tried to keep in touch with the other counties and listen to anything that might be coming through, but I don’t know of anything,” said Taylor County Elections Supervisor Dana Southerland, who also serves as the president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections.
Florida is the 36th state to offer an online registration system.
The system was activated on Oct. 1.
By Friday morning, nearly 2,000 had used RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov to submit a voter registration application or update their current registration. An additional 500 people used the online system to fill out and print a hard copy application, which can then be mailed to their local Supervisor of Elections office.
“Considering this is an odd year for elections, that we’re not in the middle of a regular election cycle, I would think that’s probably pretty good,” Southerland said.
Some local elections officials have chosen to take a cautious approach in promoting online registration. They want to give the new system a chance to get established before they actively start directing people to the online registration site.
The online system was adopted by the Florida Legislature two years ago and was signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott, who expressed reservations over security issues with an online system.
The Legislature gave Secretary of State Ken Detzner until this month to address safety issues and get the new system up and running.
Detzner has said the new online registration system has been equipped with a number of safeguards to verify and protect a person’s identity and personal information. They include a state-of-the-art firewall, data encryption, captcha boxes, session time-out after inactivity and the use of multi-screens.
“The right to vote is sacred in our country and I hope that with this new and convenient method, more Floridians will register to vote and engage in the electoral process,” Detzner said in a statement.
Local elections officials had lobbied for an online voter registration system for years saying it would increase convenience for voters while saving money.
Elections supervisor Dana Southerland is glad it’s finally here.
“Of course with everything you want to think through it and make sure you pay close attention to detail,” said Southerland. “But, I think in today’s society, everyone is mobile and wants to have easy access and the least complicated system to do anything on these days. So, I think online registration was just a move in the right direction”