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Jack Latvala calls Ken Detzner opposition to online voter registration “bullshit!”

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The state’s top elections chief got a dressing down Wednesday from Sen. Jack Latvala.  Secretary of State Ken Detzner is opposing an on-line voter registration proposal moving in the House and Senate.

“We’re all for it,” said Latvala after the meeting gesturing to include members of the Transportation, Economic Development Committee.

And the House is for it. I’m just not sure what is going on here (Detzner opposition) but I’ll be researching that,” said Latvala.

Detzner explained that without a budget; plan, without seeking information from other states to implement it he wanted to express great caution and concern about going forward.

A microphone picked up Latvala muttering something about ‘bullshit.”

Sen. Jeff Clemens, the bill’s sponsor, said the proposal “essentially” creates an online registration form to replace a paper one.  Detzner countered it would require a “complex mission” to coordinate the four separate databases used for voter registration.

“Do we have to pass a law to tell you to start working on this,” asked Latvala.

“No sir,” replied Detzner.

“Then why haven’t you?” Latvala interjected.

“Why I’m in the process of planning of doing that Senator,” said Detzner.

“You’re in the process of planning to do that. You know, this sounds like you’re slow-walking,” said Latvala.

Twenty-four states allow electronic voter registration. Arizona was the first, enabling residents to register on-line in 2002. It found digital registration reduced costs from 83 cents per paper registration to 3 cents per online registration. Nearly 12 million Floridians are registered voters.  The databases involved in voter records include those of State, HSMV and the county tax collectors and election supervisors.

Clemens told the committee that other state had implemented online registration in six months and the bill would give state 18 months.

“There’s a flashing yellow light with regards to planning and implementation and that is why I’m taking this position today,” Detzner told the committee. “You are dealing with the most sensitive part of an election. You are dealing with voter registration system and if we do it wrong, we are in a heap of trouble.”

The committee approved the proposal with a unanimous vote.

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