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Voter Purge Decision

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

July 10, 2012

Last summer Governor Rick Scott began efforts to remove non-US-Citizens from Florida's voting rolls. Scott asked the Department of Homeland Security to give the state access to its immigration database to avoid making mistakes.

"There's no perfect time to do any of these things," said Scott.

In May Scott tired of waiting on the feds. The state moved forward with its voter purge efforts using three thousand names from a state DMV database. But the list was flawed and US citizens, some of them war heroes, were caught in the fray.

"We, in fact, need credible and reliable information, that's what the law requires and I did not believe that this was credible information," said Palm Beach Country Supervisor or Elections, Susan Bucher.

Most of the state's Supervisors of Elections stopped the purge. The feds sued Scott. Scott filed his own suit, demanding access to the immigration database.

Last month a federal judge ruled in Scott's favor saying his voter purge efforts can continue, but without the database the state risks ousting legally registered voters. So for now the efforts are on hold as Scott tussles with the Department of Homeland Security.

Voter registration groups, like the League of Woman Voters are watching his every move and are ready to pounce if the purge goes awry.

As the standoff continues and elections approach, a warning from the federal judge in the case stands, "Irreparable harm will result if non-citizens are allowed to vote.

Opponents of the purge claim the state's effort disproportionally target registered democrats and at the very least scare low-income and minority voters who are *legally registered from showing up at the polls.


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