Nelson Gets Involved in Fight Over Felon Voter List

Florida U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has joined a lawsuit to try to make those names public. The state's 67 elections supervisors are mulling over the list this week, and must now decide if it's valid. At least one supervisor has already found names that are erroneously on that list.

Nearly 48,000 people are on the list to be purged from voters’ roles, but the state won’t give a copy of that list to anyone except politicians or political committees.

The First Amendment Foundation says the law being cited to keep it confidential isn’t valid.

Barbara Peterson with the First Amendment Foundation, "It seems to me that is violates the constitutional standard for the creation of exception to our right of access."

So we went to the Leon County election office to ask. We were politely told "tough luck”, but deputy elections Supervisor Janet Olin did say they have already found problems with some of the names on the list.

Janet Olin says, "When we do our investigation some names are coming off. We found some errors right off the bat."

CNN will be in court later this week seeking a copy of the list. Now, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is filing a brief supporting the lists release.

"How do we know that they are not purging someone who is not under the Florida law supposed to be purged as a convicted felon?" says Nelson.

Sharon Lettman from the People for the American Way says hundreds of people wrongly refused a vote in 2000 still haven’t had their voting rights restored.

"The bottom line is that the burden of proof is on the citizen, and the democracy of the burden of proof is supposed to be on the state."

Ironically there is a William Nelson on the Leon County felons purge list, but he is not the U.S. senator. State elections director Ed Cast has resigned, effective June 15, but he said it has nothing to do with dissatisfaction with the department or its policies, he's just leaving to pursue other interests.


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