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Florida Suing Federal Government Over Voter Purge

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

FL Dems Statement on Gov. Scott’s Announcement he’ll Sue DHS to Continue Voter Purge

Tallahassee, FL - Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith today issued the following statement in reaction to embattled Gov. Rick Scott’s announcement that he will sue the Department of Homeland Security in his continued effort to purge Florida voters from the rolls.

Statement from Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith:
“It is disappointing but predictable that this very unpopular Tea Party Governor would spend taxpayer dollars trying to discourage Floridians from voting – despite the directive of the Department of Justice and the concerns expressed by the state’s Supervisors of Elections. With all the serious problems in Florida, surely Rick Scott has something more important to do than focus on purging the voting rolls in pursuit of a problem that does not exist.”
Background:

A majority of Florida voters disapprove of Gov. Scott's voter purge, and his efforts are driving down his already dismal approval ratings. A recent Public Policy Polling survey found that "a majority (50-percent) of Florida voters disapprove of Scott’s push to eliminate some people from the registered voter rolls." Scott's already dismal approval ratings have plummeted to just 31-percent "as his voter-elimination efforts are beginning to surface (and be scrutinized) nationally" and "his effort is facing significant disapproval." [Public Policy Polling, 6/8/2012]

Gov. Scott's administration attempted to purge legal voters, including a veteran and small business owner. Bill Internicola, 91 year old decorated WWII veteran who has voted in Florida for 14 years received notice from Broward County stating he was ineligible to vote, as did Maureen Russo -- a small business owner who has been a registered voter in Florida for the last four decades [ThinkProgress 5/29/2012; ThinkProgress, 5/25/2012]

All of Florida's 67 Election Supervisors have suspended the purge. "Florida elections supervisors said Friday they will discontinue a state-directed effort to remove names from county voter rolls because they believe the state data is flawed and because the U.S. Department of Justice has said the process violates federal voting laws" [ThinkProgress, 6/2/2012]

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Florida Suing Federal Government Over Voter Purge

Tallahassee, FL (AP) -- June 11, 2012 --
by Gary Fineout

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says the state is suing the federal government because it will not allow the state to check the citizenship status of registered voters.

Scott announced the lawsuit Monday during a television appearance.

Florida last year began looking for non-U.S. citizens on the voter rolls. A comparison of driver's license records with voter registration records turned up as many as 182,000 registered voters who may not be U.S. citizens.

State officials have been seeking access to a federal immigration database to verify the matches. But that request has been turned down by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

So far the state has given a smaller list of more than 2,600 names to local election supervisors. But that list has come under fire for errors.

*** NOTE *** Attached please find a letter the Justice Department sent today to the Florida Secretary of State regarding its voter list maintenance program. The letter was sent in response to a letter from the Florida Secretary of State dated June 6, 2012.

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Florida to Challenge U.S. Government on Voter Purge

Tallahassee, FL -- June 4, 2012 --

Candidates lined up Monday to get their name of the ballot this year. Others mailed their paperwork, detailing the area they want to represent. The unanswered question, though, is who’ll be able to vote for them. The U.S. Department of Justice has shut down state efforts to examine voter rolls within 90 days of the August election. We asked Governor Rick Scott why he ordered the effort now.

“There’s no perfect time to do any of these things,” Scott said. “We just want fair elections. That’s what all of us want.”

The State says it has been trying to get Federal approval for the purge and the use of a federal database since last September. A trail of emails show that conference calls to were canceled by both sides.

As early as a month after first asking to use the database, the state was told it would need an alien database registration number for the computer to make the match. The Catch-22 is that the state doesn’t collect that number because it doesn’t register non-citizens.

What is clear is that the state is not giving up.

Reporter: The 90-day requirement doesn’t apply here, is that right?

“We’ll be addressing that in our letter to DOJ,” Secretary of State Spokesman Chris Cate said.

Reporter: And when will that letter go?

“We’ll send out our letter to DOJ this week,” Cate said.

Initial matches of voters to the state’s suspect list have gone overwhelmingly to the voter who was a citizen and properly registered.


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