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Florida remains on schedule for 2017 online voter registration

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Work that will allow Floridians to register to vote online -- after this year's presidential election -- remains on schedule, according to a progress report submitted to state lawmakers.

The online voter-registration system, mandated by lawmakers last year over the objection of Secretary of State Ken Detzner, requires the state Division of Elections to develop an online voter-registration application by Oct. 1, 2017.

"DOS (the Department of State) has formulated and begun a six-phase development and implementation plan, of which the initial discovery phase is now complete," according to the conclusion of the report. The Department of State, which includes the Division of Elections, submitted the report last week to the House and Senate.

The report notes that once the system is launched, Florida will join 26 other states, including California and New York, in operating online voter-registration systems.

Florida's system is being crafted by the Department of State, the 67 county supervisors of election and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

When Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill into law in May he raised concerns about cybersecurity.

"Cyberattacks are on the front pages almost every day, and fraud and identification-theft issues arise whenever a new avenue for information transmittal is created," Scott wrote when he signed the bill. The progress report notes that as part of the voter-registration modernization effort, the state has already installed new hardware with "the latest state-of-the art equipment reflecting the choice of major data centers in the public and private sectors."

Lawmakers included $1.8 million to pay for setting up the system.