People may have been surprised to hear last week that Rick Scott is totally against an online voter registration system in Florida. Not because it's news that he's trying to restrict voting mind you, he's got a long history of that.
No, what's somewhat surprising is his reasoning for why online voter registration would be bad:
A bill unanimously passed a Senate committee Thursday that would enact online voter registration in Florida, but Scott’s administration issued a report outlining a number of criticisms in response. In the report, the Division of Elections says the bill would present risks and challenges to the voter registration system, an argument that even Republican election administrators in the state say is erroneous.
“Malicious cyber-attacks and non-malicious malfunctions could potentially wreak havoc on an online voter registration system,” the report said. “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.”
Ok, so we've been warned about the evils of non-existent voter fraud, governor, but DO go on:
The report also noted that not all citizens have access to a personal computer or internet connection — even though registering to vote on paper would still be permitted — and warned that “if the websites for online voter registration are not sufficiently user friendly, frustrated applicants may give up on registering to vote altogether.”
The conscientious governor is concerned that not having internet access could prevent one from voting, even though registering on paper would still be permitted. That's an interesting excuse considering one of the things you can't get in Florida without internet access (thanks to Rick Scott, by the way) is unemployment benefits. Only under strict circumstances can you get them without doing so online through his "new and improved" UI website which to this day is virtually unworkable.
In fact, a trip to the CONNECT FAQ page here is a handy guide to the pitfalls of daring to navigate the website in the first place.
Clicking on this page further warns you that only certain devices can be used for access. So online access is even restricted. Never mind that this information directly contradicts the DEO Claimant Guide which says CONNECT provides online access to all claim related information that you can access anywhere, at any time.
Scott's claim "if the websites for online voter registration are not sufficiently user friendly, frustrated applicants may give up on registering to vote altogether” could possibly ring true in some circumstances. Circumstances like this sidebar, also found on the CONNECT website?
The number of individuals claiming RA benefits has declined from 556,941 when Governor Rick Scott took office (week ending 1/8/2011), down to approximately 81,795 (week ending 03/28/2015).
What with all the hoops required to get unemployment in the first place since Rick Scott "improved" the state UI website, is it any wonder claims are down? Of course not. He's an expert in finding ways to make people so frustrated they give up. Unfortunately for him, that backfired when he tried to restrict access to the polls before and people were even more determined to stay in line until they voted.
But everything he's tried so far to keep people from voting has failed, so his latest attempt at selective concerns of cyber-security, identity theft, and problems with access are laughable. Even those in his own party aren't buying it.
And that's saying something.