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Civil rights groups file federal lawsuit over Florida voter purge

by Dara Kam | June 8th, 2012

A coalition of civil rights groups have filed a federal lawsuit against Gov. Rick Scott’s administration over a controversial non-citizen voter purge the Justice Department considers a violation of two federal elections laws.

The ACLU, the Lawyers’ Committee on Civil Rights Under Law and the law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges asked a three-judge panel in Tampa to stop Secretary of State Ken Detzner from continuing the scrub until the Justice Department decides whether it is permissible.

The purge, the brainchild of Scott, has sparked a national outcry and partisan divide over voting in the presidential battleground of Florida. And it’s created a tug-of-war between President Obama’s and Scott’s administrations.

Detzner in April sent elections supervisors lists of more than 2,600 potentially ineligible voters flagged by matching driver license records with the state’s voter registration database. More than half of those on the list – gleaned from a master list of more than 182,000 voters – had Hispanic-sounding surnames. Elections supervisors found that many of those targeted for removal were naturalized citizens, and backed away from the scrub last week.

Federal law requires “preclearance” of voting or elections changes in jurisdictions with a history of discrimination. Five counties in Florida – Collier, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough and Monroe – require such preclearance.

But Detzner asked for the federal go-ahead for those counties before moving ahead with the purge, the lawsuit, filed on behalf of two Hillsborough County naturalized citizens and Mi Familia Vota, argues.

Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday told a Congressional committee that the purge appears to violate federal law prohibiting states from doing voter registration database maintenance 90 days before an election. That deadline passed on May 16 for Florida’s Aug. 14 primary. The Justice Department asked Detzner to stop the scrub, but Detzner this week told Holder’s office he believes President Obama’s administration is breaking the law by not giving the state access to a Department of Homeland Security database with current immigration information.

Murat Limage, a Haitian-American U.S. Citizen, and Pamela Gomez, who is a Dominican-American Hispanic U.S. Citizen, brought the suit along with Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to working with the Latino/Hispanic community to increase civic participation. Both Gomez and Limage are registered to vote in Hillsborough County.

Haitian-born Murat Limage, one of the plaintiffs in the case, registered to vote after becoming a naturalized citizen two years ago. Limage was one of the more than 2,000 voters who received written notice from local elections officials notifying him that he “may not be a U.S. citizen,” the lawsuit reads.

According to the lawsuit, Limage provided his U.S. passport and other citizenship documents to the Hillsborough County elections office but has not yet received confirmation that he will be allowed to vote.

“When I received the letter saying that they had information that I may not be a citizen, I was concerned that someone was taking away my citizenship,” Limage said in a press release announcing the lawsuit today. “I’m an American which means I can vote and that’s all I want to do.”

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9 Responses to “Civil rights groups file federal lawsuit over Florida voter purge”

  1. luckydog Says:

    Hispanics, Haitians and other illegals should be grateful they have a country (USA) to escape to, to avoid thier self created Hell Holes of nations. But they have become rude ingrates who want to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.
    I say hell NO, go back to your sewer country and stop polluting this wonderful country!

  2. Need More Sugar Says:

    Republicans and Tea Party types are worried about a handful of non-citizen who may accidentally or intentionally cast a vote, and thus find it justified to potentially purge legitimate voters from the rolls.

    But those same Republicans and Tea Party types are not at all worried about the voting systems used that have been shown to contain several bugs resulting in 100′s if not 1000′s of over and/or under votes.

    Why are they not going after this issue with as much or greater vigor as they are with purging voter rolls?

    Could it be that the companies making the voting systems, and their upper management, have been lobbying hard and making hefty campaign donations to The Republicans and Tea Party?

    Or could it be that voters wrongfully purged tend to vote for Democrats and not Republican/Tea Party?

  3. Steve Says:

    There is no legitimate argument against purging names of people who should not be voting. There has not been ONE person deleted who should have been permitted to vote. The ACLU and Obama Justice Department just want to continue their practice of fraudulent voting practices (having one person in the hood voting fomcl tipple times for dead people or people who don’t exist)

  4. enough is enough Says:

    AAAHHHHH!!! I feel real bad for those illegals and felons not being able to vote, don’t you? After all, how many dead people voted in 2008? Let’s also not forget those who voted several times and the cartoon charicters that elected that POS traiter three years ago.
    Are better off now than you were before this liar in chief took office?

  5. JP Knight Says:

    Voting is a civil right – and legal voters have the right NOT to have their votes nullified by the ballots of those who are ineligible to vote.

  6. sad state of affairs Says:

    “”"I say hell NO, go back to your sewer country”"”

    What a disgusting person you are.

    When are Republicans going to start acting like they care about Judeo-Christian values?

    Probably never, since most of those on the right who actually care about Judeo-Christian values have already left the GOP.

    Moderates and Indies need to join with the Democrats to elect people who actually give a damn about America and not people who are on an Ayn Rand “Me Me Me” death wish for this country.

  7. Alan Lidstone Says:

    What was originally announced as an indication of 182,000 illegal voters based on an egregiously bad analysis of DMV records dropped to FL Sec’y of State to 2600 illegal voters in several FL counties, and subsequently to approximately 40 people who voted illegally as of June 8, 2012.

    The Governor and FL Sec’y of State then said they had to use the faulty DMV records which only record citizenship information since 2010 to comply with Federal requirements and that Homeland Security would not give them access to federal information.

    Apparently the Governor and Sec’y of State were unaware that FL driver licenses are good for six years, which meant that FL driver license applications have no verification of driver citizenship for years 2007, 2008, 2009, and part of 2010 because the state never asked for it.

    The FL Governor and Sec’y of State have three problems. The first is that Homeland Security only has citizenship information for individuals who apply for visas to enter the U.S., apply for U.S. citizenship, apply for a U.S. passport, or have been subject to investigation by Homeland Security and its’ many agencies. Homeland Security does not have citizenship information on illegal aliens who stay as far away as possible form Homeland Security unless they contact HHS or are apprehended by HHS.

    The second is that Florida election law regarding voter rolls clearly stipulates that people cannot be removed from the voter rolls within 90 days of an election (which is currently scheduled for August 2012).

    The third problem is that do you think anyone in their right mind could trust the Governor or Secretary of State with any sensitive citizenship information concerning 325 million people that might be provided by Homeland Security, et al, regarding voter fraud. After spending at least several hundred thousand dollars of taxpayer funds we have gone from 187,000 to 2300 to 40 people who may have voted illegally.

    Unfortunately, there are people voting illegally in Florida. I wonder how many of the illegal voters are simply snowbirds with homes in Florida that vote in their winter residence state (FL), or their home state.

    We have a governor who wants small government, but demands that Homeland Security, Immigration, Dept of State and other federal agencies to provide more bits, bytes, and paper of negligible value to harass FL residents and voters.

  8. Learn to think critically Says:

    Alan Lidstone posted a thoughtful and knowledgeable analysis of this situation, which means that at least half of the people who read it either will not understand it or will simply ignore it and continue to blindly embrace their own ignorant points of view. We need to start teaching critical thinking skills much earlier in our educational system, which would result in people being much less likely to accept political maneuvers like disenfranchising voters.

  9. Robert Brinley Says:

    As a resident of Florida you should be familiar with 3 forms of identification just to get a drivers license. Why shouldn’t there be three forms of ID to vote? You have brought up Tax Return Fraud, these are probably the same people who are voting fraudulantly. Acorn proved that some individuals voted several times. You certainly are a typical democrat and willingly to keep your office any way you can. You lost my vote, but maybe you can find someone to vote using my name.

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