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AG Holder insists Scott administration breaking the law with voter purge

by Dara Kam | June 7th, 2012

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch used a Congressional hearing today as a platform for Attorney General Eric Holder to defend his intervention in a controversial non-citizen voter purge launched by Gov. Rick Scott last year.

Holder’s remarks come in the midst of a back-and-forth between the Justice Department and Scott’s administration over who is breaking the law.

Deutch, D-Boca Raton, asked Holder to respond to U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney‘s attack yesterday in which Rooney, R-Tequesta, accused Holder of playing partisan politics by trying to stop a controversial non-citizen voter purge in Florida.

A fired-up Deutch blasted Scott for the problematic purge that flagged more than 182,000 potentially ineligible voters by matching driver’s license and voter registration records. A preliminary list of 2,600 voters given by Secretary of State Ken Detzner to elections supervisors found that many of those targeted had were naturalized citizens and others who had been born in the U.S. About 40,000 legitimately-registered voters could lose their abilities to case ballots in November, Deutch said, if the purge were to continue.

Republicans’ assertions that the purge is needed to combat voter fraud “preposterous and offensive” because only 16 cases of voter fraud were found out of more than 8 million votes cast in the last presidential election in Florida, Deutch said.

“And it’s condescending because voter fraud would be a totally ineffective way to rig an election. It’s rare because it’s a felony that risks prison time and huge fines and it’s a totally illogical way to sway elections. You know what is an effective way to sway elections? Scrubbing thousands of legitimate voters off the rolls. Eradicating voter registration drives. Reducing early voting and disenfranchising millions of seniors and impoverished Americans who lack government ID’s. That’s the tactic that Gov. Scott and his ilk are using not just in Florida but around the country,” said Deutch, who weeks ago had asked Holder to look into the purge.

“But maybe I’m wrong. Is my Republican colleague right? Have I missed some grand conspiracy here?” he asked, setting the stage for Holder to respond to Rooney and Scott, who yesterday accused President Obama’s administration of breaking the law by denying access to a Homeland Security database with more complete citizenship records.

“That is not what motivated our action or will continue to motivate the action that we may have to take,” Holder said. “But I will assure you that we will make sure that the federal law is enforced. And that voter purges happen in a way that is consistent with the law.”

Last week, Holder’s voting rights division asked Scott to stop the purge because it appeared to be a violation of a federal law that bars state voter registration purges 90 days before an election. That window passed on May 16 in Florida for the Aug. 14 primary. Yesterday, Detzner said he “respectfully disagrees” with the Justice Department and that their interpretation of the law would give Floridians the right to sue the federal government to ensure their votes are not diluted.

Holder denied that he is engaged in a “political ploy” and told Deutch he is simply enforcing the law.

“I share your view that we do not want to have people inappropriately voting. We do not want to have voter rolls who contain people who should not have the right to vote. At the same time, we should be engaged in a process that does not put off the rolls people who have served their country, veterans, people who want to exercise their fundamental American rights. The notion that this is somehow a political ploy is inconsistent. One only has to look at the law which is clear. Ninety days. It is very, very clear. Ninety days,” Holder said.

Elections supervisors have abandoned the non-citizen scrub until Scott and the feds – or a court – sort things out.

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7 Responses to “AG Holder insists Scott administration breaking the law with voter purge”

  1. STOP THE PURGE Says:

    If you listen to the right wing screamers you’d think it was a big problem, but look at the EVIDENCE!

    There is next to ZERO evidence of non-citizen voting ever being a problem anywhere.

    In Central Florida they found FIVE non-voters on the voter rolls. That’s 5 out of 1.2 million voters on the rolls. And none of them had ever cast a ballot.

    http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-05-30/news/os-suspect-voters-list-20120529_1_voter-rolls-voter-drive-elections-supervisors

    In Miami-Dade they found 13 non-citizens and only 2 of which had voted, but neither had voted since 2000.

    THIS “PROBLEM” CAN AND IS HANDLED BY THE COUNTY SUPERVISOR!!!

    The State of Florida does NOT NEED and should not be granted access to any federal database over such a minor issue.

    And by the way, New Mexico and Colorado are trying to pull the same stunt as Florida and studies have shown the same exact thing. VERY FEW non-citizens registered and almost ZERO illegal votes cast.

    Obviously these efforts are coordinated with the support and financial backing of the Koch Brothers! It could not be more obvious that this is just another attempt by the Republican Party to SUBVERT democracy and install a Wall Street puppet in every election possible.

    THIS IS BIG GOVERNMENT VOTER FRAUD BY THE GOP and nothing more.

    Thank you DOJ!

  2. STOP THE PURGE Says:

    MUST-WATCH VIDEO:

    Ann McFall, REPUBLICAN supervisor of elections for Volusia County, Florida, talks with Rachel Maddow about why she’s resisting Governor Rick Scott’s call to purge voters from the voting rolls ahead of the 2012 election.

    http://video.msnbc.msn.com/the-rachel-maddow-show/47714897#47714897

    According to the interview, the county SOEs had completed their purge that they do in odd numbered years to avoid conflicting with and interfering with elections.

    Rick Scott said, TOUGH, we’re doing it anyway even though it is a Presidential election year.

    The State SOEs — thank G-d — said, play by the book or your purge is dead in the water.

    Just watch the video, you’ll see.

    This woman is a Florida Republican and she is NOT HAPPY about Rick Scott’s illegal purge.

  3. STOP THE PURGE Says:

    Oops!

    ANOTHER Republican SOE comes out against Rick Scott:

    Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark (R) released a statement last Friday saying that her office would not continue the purge:

    “The accuracy of the voter registration database is of the utmost importance and we will continue our efforts to ensure the information is current. However, we will not use unreliable data.”

    [...]

    Clark and other Florida elections supervisors had questioned “not only the accuracy of the information, but also the timing after learning that the state had the list of voters more than a year prior to distributing it.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/06/07/496077/exclusive-gop-election-supervisor-rebukes-gov-scott-refuses-to-continue-voter-purge/

    That last part is key, really pay attention to this… the SOEs questioned:

    “not only the accuracy of the information, but also the TIMING after learning that the state had the list of voters more than a year prior to distributing it.”

  4. David Kearns Says:

    It is wonderful the push-back the SOE’s are giving lip-service to. In some cases, how much damage was already done? Also and as per usual, SCOTT is not the one who risks getting charged with a federal crime so much as the SOEs who are the nuts and bolts of the election. They would be the ones getting hit with the federal charge so, here’s to them for their brave stand in their own self interest. In the case of certain counties in that shady elections gave us the fascist in the mansion in the first place, their brave salute to the law is but a band aid handed to a gunshot victim.

  5. Carol Says:

    Of course people here illegally should vote. Why not? There should be absolutely no efforts to stop this. After all there’s no effort to stop people from south and central America and Mexico from coming here since the current POTUS and AG has put an indefinite hold on all deportations until after the presidential election. So all of those people could vote, too. Simple test – if these people are receiving welfare, Sec. 8 housing, have no identification, receive Medicaid, free cell phones, free cable TV – then by all means they should vote. It’s their way of paying back the Democrats for all the free stuff they receive. There, all settled. Now let’s get on to the important stuff.

  6. Rob Says:

    You do know that there are plenty of noncitizens who are here legally, right? Not that they should vote, but I don’t understand the way people equate “noncitizen” with “illegal immigrant”. It just sounds weird and makes me wonder how bad the logic is in other areas.
    And, yes, even poor people should be able to vote, if they are citizens.

  7. richard beals Says:

    THANK YOU GOV. SCOTT FOR YOUR SHOW OF COURAGE.

    RICHARD BEALS MD

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