Florida to Purge Felons from Voter Rolls

The state is conducting training sessions all over the state this week, but the Leon County elections supervisor says the state is a day late and a dollar short.

Elections supervisors in Florida will soon begin purging convicted felons and other ineligible voters from the voter rolls. Leon County has a list of about 800 of them.

Supervisors must contact them and review their cases by election day.

Ion Sancho, Leon County Elections Supervisor, says, "If an individual is a felon and has not their rights restored, they are not eligible to register and they're not eligible to vote."

Last week, the state elections division director sent a memo to counties, directing them to contact the felons by certified mail, warn them that they are potentially "ineligible" to vote and give them an opportunity to prove otherwise, a task and a cost that Leon County's supervisor calls daunting in the days before the election.

"We're right in the middle of verifying petitions both for the Constitutional amendments and for candidates. Dumping this program on us at the last second in the middle of the elections process which has been planned for well over a year in advance is something that is causing a problem," adds Sancho.

A spokeswoman with the state contends once a lawsuit over the computer data base was settled. Election supervisors should have known this day was coming and should have prepared for it. Though she does admit the computer data base wasn't accessible until this week.

Sancho worries about the accuracy of the data base and that he will be held legally liable if a voter is mistakenly purged.

An ACLU spokesman says all of this could be avoided if the state automatically restored felons' voting rights once their sentences are complete like most other states.


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