Dueling lawsuits in voter purge: DOJ to sue Gov. Rick Scott adminby Dara Kam | June 11th, 2012
The Department of Justice will sue Gov. Rick Scott’s administration over a controversial non-citizen voter purge, the federal agency told Scott’s administration the same day the governor filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez ordered Secretary of State Ken Detzner to “immediately cease this unlawful conduct,” blaming Scott’s administration for the problematic purge.
“Because the State has indicated its unwillingness to comply with these requirements, I have authorized the initiation of an enforcement action against Florida in federal court.”
Perez’s 0611 DOJTODETZNERfive-page letter came in response to a missive from Detzner last week accusing President Obama’s administration of conspiring to keep Florida from cleansing its voter rolls. Perez flatly denied it.
“In short, your claim that the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security have worked in concert to deny Florida access to the SAVE Program is simply wrong,” he wrote.
The SAVE database won’t work by simply matching the names and dates of birth of potential non-citizens. That’s what the Florida Department of State did with driver license and voter registration records to create a list of more than 180,000 voter flagged as potentially inelgible to cast their ballots. Many of those on the error-riddled list turned out to be naturalized citizens, and others were born in the U.S.
Scott used the purge to pump up tea party supporters at a rally in Tallahassee yesterday.
Scott has repeatedly blamed the problematic list on DHS, which failed to give Florida permission to access the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements, or “SAVE,” program that has more complete immigration data.
But Perez blamed Scott’s administration for the scrub flub.
“By your own admission, Florida has been on notice for at least eight months that the SAVE Program can verify naturalized and derived United States citizens only if Florida provided the appropriate numeric identifiers, and where necessary, the underlying documentation. But Florida has failed to either to provide the necessary information to DHS, or to confirm that the necessary information would be available for verification purposes under the SAVE Program,” Perez wrote. “As a result, the significant problems you are encountering in administering this new program are of your own creation.”