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UPDATE: Voting rights groups ask Scott to stop non-citizen voter purge

by Dara Kam | May 24th, 2012

A coalition of voting rights groups is asking Gov. Rick Scott to stop a statewide effort to purge thousands of potential non-citzens from the voting rolls, and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, also plans to ask the governor to stop the scrub.

Lawyers for the groups said in a letter to Secretary of State Ken Detzner that the voting purge is in violation of the National Voting Rights Act which prohibits systematic purging of the voter rolls 90 days prior to a general election. The purge effort falls within that 90-day prohibition because of Florida’s Aug. 14 primary.

Last month, Detzner sent a list of more than 2,600 potentially ineligible voters to the state’s 67 elections supervisors flagged as potentially ineligible by matching driver’s license and voting records. But the list was riddled with errors and included some voters who were born in the U.S. and others who had become citizens since getting their driver’s licenses or state-issued ID cards. Detzner’s office then went to work on scrubbing a list of up to 180,000 flagged voters whose citizenship is in question.

Last week, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles officials said they would begin a more exhaustive vetting of the list by using a federal database with more up-to-date citizenship information. The list is exacerbating an already strained relationship between state and local elections officials as the November general election approaches.

Project Vote, Fair Elections Legal Network, Advancement Project, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, LULAC Florida, and the Hillsborough Hispanic Coalition asked Detzner to abandon the non-citizen initiative, prompted by Gov. Rick Scott after he took office in 2010.

Many of the voters on the list are Hispanics, which could also be a violation of the NVRA which requires state voter list maintenance programs to be uniform and non-discriminatory, lawyers for the groups said.

“The right to vote is the fundamental pillar of our democracy. Florida has a shameful history of purging minority voters based on false information and inaccurate lists right before the presidential elections,” Penda Hair, co-director of the Advancement Project, said in a press release. “This year’s deeply flawed process disproportionately targets Latino voters and is discriminatory, unfair and antithetical to the values of our nation.”

Detzner’s spokesman Chris Cate said the group is wrong.

“We just received the letter, but we’ve had it long enough to know we disagree with their interpretation of the law. Not only do we believe it’s crucial to have ineligible voters removed from the voter rolls, we’re obligated by law to do it,” Cate said in an e-mail. Detzner’s office will be sending a formal response to the coalition, Cate said, noting that the presidential primary was in January, not in August as the groups said in their letter.

Deutch also drafted a letter to Scott asking him to stop flushing the voter rolls.

“Given that this process fails to meet basic standards of accountability, and that the legal authority for automatic removal of registered voters is currently being challenged in both state and federal court, it is irresponsible to proceed so quickly and with so little room for oversight. If the goal is truly to remove ineligible individuals who were intentionally or somehow mistakenly registered to vote, then that process must move forward in a nonpartisan manner with transparency, uniformity, and great care,” Deutch’s draft letter reads. “Governor Scott, Florida has never encountered problems with mass voter fraud. Unfortunately however, our state does have a troubled history of wrongfully purging from our rolls the names of legitimate voters mistakenly deemed ineligible to vote. In both 2000 and 2004, the state pursued misguided efforts to purge the voter rolls that were shown to wrongfully include legal voters in these lists. Only when the lists and the process were made transparent could all Florida voters trust that no one would be wrongfully denied their right to vote.”

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18 Responses to “UPDATE: Voting rights groups ask Scott to stop non-citizen voter purge”

  1. OBAMA 2012 Says:

    THIS AIN’T 2000!

    If the Republicans want to win, they have to:

    A) Explain their positions

    B) Get more votes

    I don’t see them doing EITHER.

    OBAMA/DEMS! Fired Up!

  2. JP Knight Says:

    The only possible explanation is that these groups want non-citizens to vote. They just do not have the guts to state this in an honest and straightforward manner.

  3. Rules 101 Says:

    If you are not a US citizen you should not be allowed to vote. If you want the “privledge” of voting then become a citizen. What is wrong with folks not being able to differentiate between plain right and wrong. This has nothing to do with Dem or Rep. It’s common sense — something very sorely absent in the country these days.

  4. OBAMA 2012 Says:

    Common Sense:

    There are ways to enact a voter ID law without disenfranching Americans from their right to vote.

    The only “problem” with that fact is that those ways don’t allow Republicans to screw over American voters.

  5. Outside Your Box Says:

    Should be relatively easy to develop a common sense computer algorithm to determine real voter fraud suspects. How about first sending a letter requesting more verifying information? Next go for arrests of actual violators. The “kill them all, let God sort it out” mentality seems very suspicious and very un-American. Republicans can’t keep slapping Hispanics in the face.

  6. Searcher Says:

    Why don’t these PURGES occur AFTER an election, not within months of a new election? They always seem to happen when there isn’t enough time to fix the problem. Then, after the elections, the stories come out about all of the people who were improperly scrubbed and who couldn’t vote…

  7. Jim Lloyd Says:

    Why is it the Republicans who are the bad guys for wanting only certified, real citizens to vote? Why do the Dems want anybody from anywhere to be able to vote??? This whole scenario is absurd. Kind of like the current regime.

  8. Cactus Says:

    IF your not legal, then you can’t/shouldn’t vote. Simple. Don’t we as citizens have any rights left? Everybody’s so concerned with the latin vote regardless if they are legal or not, quite pandering and do things the right way. Most American’s are really, really sick of the way this country has forgotten what’s right and wrong. Illegal is ILLEGAL.

  9. jaybee6008 Says:

    The question isn’t whether non-citizens should have the right to vote…of course not. The question is the propriety of arbitrarily scrubbing the voter rolls of hundreds of thousands who could be legal without proper vetting of the process, without time to fix any errors, and without transparency. That smells of vote suppression, pure and simple.

    What’s American about that?

  10. OBAMA 2012 Says:

    jaybee6008, there’s NOTHING American about disenfranching voters.

    It is, in fact, ANTI-American.

    And it is just another heap of evidence to toss on the pile that confirms that the Republicans, almost to a man, believe in PARTY over COUNTRY.

    By the way, unrelated topic…

    *CEO Pay is at Record Levels*

    Profits at big U.S. companies broke records last year, and so did pay for CEOs.

    The head of a typical public company made $9.6 million in 2011, according to an analysis by The Associated Press using data from Equilar, an executive pay research firm.

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_CEO_PAY?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-05-25-06-34-11

    So the CEOs walk away with an AVERAGE of almost $10M…

    SO WHERE ARE THE JOBS, “JOB CREATORS”?!

    The Right Wing economic philosophy of trickle-down is simply a joke at this point. Laughable.

  11. Al Breeck Says:

    Who cares what Rick Scott and the S.of S. think or do?

    Demand the Dept of Justice issue an immediate injunction for blatant violations of the Voting Rights Act.

    Take Rick Scott to Federal Court, familiar territory for him.

  12. Daniel English Says:

    This has nothing really to do with Democrat or Republican but a matter of law. We don’t allow felons to vote and neither should illegals. Sometimes I totally disagree with what is going on with my party. The issue of having the right to vote is simple. Voting rights belong to citizens of the United States. If you are in this country illegally then I do not feel you should have the right to vote. As a citizen I am called upon to put forth civic duty i.e. jury duty, signing up for Selective Service, and etc.

    If you are in this country under the radar then no I don’t think you should be allowed to vote until you are a legal citizen. If non-citizens are allowed to vote and gain government benefits without actually being legal then that essentially invalidates a need for citizenship in the first place.

  13. OBAMA 2012 Says:

    Daniel English,

    Non-citizens are NOT ALLOWED TO VOTE.

    Nobody in either party is suggesting that they do.

    All Democrats are saying is that there is a way to phase in laws such as voter ID laws in a way that does not prevent CITIZENS FROM VOTING.

    Why do Republicans simply REFUSE to acknowledge that there is a very simple solution to the voter ID issue — and that is to implement the new system in a way that does not disenfranchise voters.

    The fact that Republicans refuse to acknowledge this basic, common sense fact just goes to prove what the Dems have been saying, that the GOP is only out to use the voter ID issue as a way to give their candidates an advantage specifically in the 2012 election.

    The GOP is actively undermining democracy with the purpose of capitalizing on that tactic. This naked power grab should concern every single American.

  14. Al Breeck Says:

    Wisconsin judges issued injunctions for recent VOTER SUPPRESSION laws that are a burden on the taxpayers, but with essentially ZERO instances of deliberate fraudulent voting.

    In fact, more politicians have been caught fraudulently holding an office in one jurisdiction while actually residing in another.

    Since Republicans want EVERY election rule followed to the ‘T’ then prosecute Willard M. Romney for pretending to live in his relative’s basement: “Mitt Romney lived in his son’s unfinished basement in Belmont, Massachusetts in 2010 – or at least that what he claimed.
    If that’s true, Romney showed a true commitment to voting for Republican Senator Scott Brown in last year’s special election, since he owns a $12.5 million home in La Jolla, Calif. and a $10 million home in New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee – but no home in the state he was once governor.”

    I suggest a state voter purge of the very rich voting in Florida but with a primary residence elsewhere.

  15. stevereenie Says:

    I love it when people here and elsewhere refer to removin illegal voters from the voters roll as “disenfranchisement.”

    Sure…that is why they don’t want positive I.D. at the polls either.

    We know you’re trying to pad the ballot box….BUSTED!

  16. seleena Says:

    Republicans can’t win elections honestly, so they have to steal them. This makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is that nobody seems to be stopping them and they’re getting away with it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xH2N7nD7D0E

  17. Daniel English Says:

    Oh I realize that this comes at a bad time. However, it is something that should have been pushed forward to begin with. I also realize that this is an attempt by Republicans to essentially steal an election. However, if you have to rely upon an illegal base to begin with then that really undermines your political ideology. I am a Democrat however I am not wailing and gnashing my teeth on this issue.

  18. Silvana Strazzullo Says:

    Hello! Is that Alright if I ask everything sort of off subject? I’m trying to view this page with my new Droid X however it will not show up properly, do you get every solutions? Will i need to possess an update for my software ? Thanks in advance! x

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