Public Records

Critics are fuming over a new list of nearly 50,000 potential felons slated to be booted off Florida’s voter rolls.

State law restricts who gets access to the list. Some political groups and even elections supervisors are worried people may end up mistakenly being denied the right to vote, just like they were in Election 2000.

Thousands of voters were denied the right to vote during Election 2000 because their names were mistakenly on a list of felons. Now, the state has a new list.

Andrew Gillum is a member of People for the American Way, which wants to make sure no one is on this new list incorrectly. The group offered to help contact people on the list but the state is saying no thanks and Gillum doesn’t get it.

“We have a responsibility to correct that black eye, that’s our state of Florida and our election, the debauched election of 2000 to make it right this time, and to do everything we can to make sure that we make it right, not put up barriers for organizations who are attempting to assist,” says Gillum.

Florida’s Division of Elections sent out a letter to every county’s elections supervisor telling them only political parties, candidates and public officials can have copies of the felon list.

Gov. Jeb Bush says you wouldn’t want just anyone having access to sensitive information.

“These laws are long-standing, they hadn’t been created by any secret conspiracy. They were done, thoroughly vetted by people to makes sure people’s privacy are protected and people’s rights as voters are protected,” says Gov. Bush.

The only problem is anyone can fill out one of these forms, declare themselves a political committee and get a copy of the list. Leon County’s supervisor doesn’t understand why the state is putting up roadblocks.

“Advocacy groups and others who can come in and help and talk to individuals and find out what’s going on and possibly give us some proof one way or the other I think should be encouraged,” says Leon County Supervisor of Elections, Ion Sancho.

With just over five months to go until Election Day, the state needs to do all it can to ensure everyone eligible gets to vote.

A spokesperson for the Secretary of State says People for the American Way was denied access to the voter purge list because their political action committee is not current. The group is listed as “inactive.”

People for the American Way says it is considering legal action to get access to the felon list.