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Nonprofit group files records request for info about Florida online voter registration

Non-profit, Access Democracy, seeks info
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Published Sep. 20, 2017
Updated Sep. 20, 2017

A non-profit voter rights advocacy group, Access Democracy, founded by two veterans of Democratic politics, Hannah Fried and Alexis Prieur L’Heureux, has requested records related to online voter registration from the state of Florida.

“With the implementation deadline just over a week away, we are concerned that Governor Scott and his administration may not be implementing the new system faithfully,” Fried said in a release.

The group has asked for emails, audio files, photographs, communication records and other documents related to several aspects of Florida’s online voter registration system, including “technical readiness.”

Fried said she wants to make sure the online voter registration is on schedule, and that it has the proper infrastructure to handful the flurry of registration that can happen before an election deadline.

“As with any technology, it’s just common sense to make sure that it works before you give it out to the state as a whole,” Fried said.

Read Access Democracy’s full press release here. (A link to the request is included at the end.)


WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the deadline approaches for Florida’s online voter registration system, Access Democracy, a new nonprofit organization working to fix local election administration problems to ensure all eligible Americans can vote, is requesting information on the status of the system’s implementation from the Florida Department of State.

“Florida’s online voter registration system has the potential to increase voter participation, make voter rolls more accurate, and save money for taxpayers,” said Hannah Fried, co-founder of Access Democracy. “With the implementation deadline just over a week away, we are concerned that Governor Scott and his administration may not be implementing the new system faithfully. To date, there has been too little public information regarding implementation, test results, or marketing. We hope that the public records we are requesting will show that Florida’s Division of Elections is well-positioned to successfully roll out a secure and functional system next month.”

As of this month, 35 states and the District of Columbia have implemented online voting registration systems. Florida passed SB 228 in April 2015, requiring the Division of Elections of the Department of State to develop an online voter registration system by October 1 of this year. Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner and Governor Rick Scott spoke out against the bill, although the Governor ultimately signed the bill into law.

Experts report that online voter registration systems increase the security and accuracy of voter registration, despite claims made by Florida Governor Rick Scott.

“Governor Scott and opponents of Florida’s online voter registration system use baseless fear tactics to intimidate voters, claiming that online voter registration systems increase vulnerability to cyber attacks or fraudulent votes,” said Fried. “Elections experts have said plainly, however, that online voter registration systems are easy to use, safe, and they save taxpayer dollars – something Governor Scott should surely be in support of.”

New voters in Florida are currently required to print, sign, and mail a voter registration form to election officials. With the online voter registration system, Floridians who want to register to vote or update their voter registration information can simply fill out a form online, which is submitted electronically to election officials for verification.

The public records request was filed under Florida’s Sunshine Laws. The request asks the Department of State to disclose details on the progress of the online voter registration program, including details about the testing phase; the safeguards used to ensure protection of voter data and privacy; plans to make the website accessible to voters with disabilities; the ability of the system to sustain anticipated site traffic; and how the participating agencies will inform potential voters about the new system, including plans to provide voter education materials in Spanish and Haitian Creole.

A copy of the records request is available here.

This post has been updated to include interview comments by Fried and the group’s press release.