Tallahassee, Florida- July 18, 2012
Opponents of Governor Rick Scott's voter purge efforts say they have proof tonight that Scott's actions are politically motivated. Their proof is an email touting Scott's efforts that's being circulated by the Republican Party of Florida.
A year long battle between Governor Rick Scott and the Federal government ended this month when the state was granted access to an immigration database. The database will be used to remove non-citizens from the state voting rolls, but progressives, like Damien Filer, say there's a Republican motive to the purge.
Says Filer: "This is about politics; it's not about trying to keep people who shouldn't be able to vote from voting. It's about keeping people who they don't want to vote from voting."
The state began to remove non-citizen voters from the rolls in May using this list. Caught in the mix were hundreds of legal voters, some of them war heroes.
Voter rights groups cried foul and claimed the purge unfairly targeted minorities and would intimidate some from casting ballots. The purge was put on hold while the state fought the Federal government over access to an immigration database, with more accurate information.
The state was granted access to the database this week and the Republican Party of Florida responded with an email to supporters touting the victory.
Responds Filer: "When the political party steps in, basically what it is, is an acknowledgment that this was really about politics all along."
Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry says that's nonsense.
"It's a ridiculous claim. Any of the success or wins that the governor has had we've pushed historically. That's always happened in political parties" says Curry.
The party has sent e-mails about the falling unemployment rate as well as Scott videos about fraud and education.
Still, critics say this issue is different. They point to the fact that the state isn't re-launching it's the purge until after the primary as proof the goal has always been to suppress votes in the presidential election.
The governor's communications team claims that Scott's efforts to remove non-citizens from the voter rolls are not politically motivated.
Press Secretary Lane Wright issued this written response: "Making sure our citizens' right to vote is protected by removing non-citizens from our voter rolls isn't a partisan issue. It's the law."