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Justice Department tells Scott administration to quit purging voters

by Dara Kam | June 1st, 2012

The Justice Department has asked Gov. Rick Scott’s administration to stop a controversial voter purge effort, saying it appears to violate federal law.

DOJ officials gave Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who launched the purge of potential non-citizens in April, until June 6 to tell them what the state’s plan is.

In April, Detzner sent Florida’s 67 elections supervisors a list of more than 2,600 “non-citizens” flagged by matching the state voter registration database with driver’s license records. The supervisors found that the list was riddled with errors. U.S.-born voters – including at least one war hero – and naturalized citizens were among those flagged. Many of the names on the list are Hispanic.

The purge set off a national firestorm over another in a long history of voting and elections scrapes in Florida. Civil rights groups and Democrats, including Boca Raton U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, have asked Scott’s administration to abandon the effort. And, citing faulty data, some local supervisors have dropped the scrub. This week, activists started an online petition asking DOJ to intervene. Throughout it all, Detzner has insisted he will continue with the purge and yesterday again asked the Department of Homeland Security for access to its database to ensure the data is more reliable.

In yesterday’s letter, T. Christian Herren, chief of the DOJ’s voting section, said the scrub appeared to violate at least two federal laws. Five counties in Florida require federal approval before any voting or election changes are made, but Detzner did not ask the DOJ or a federal court to sign off on the purge before he initiated it.

And federal voting laws prohibit any major voter scrub 90 days before an election. That deadline was May 16 for Florida’s Aug. 14 primary.

Detzner doesn’t appear to be backing down. His spokesman Chris Cate told The News Service of Florida late yesterday the agency is reviewing the letter but “we are firmly committed to doing the right thing and preventing ineligible voters from being able to cast a ballot.”

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63 Responses to “Justice Department tells Scott administration to quit purging voters”

  1. R Neck Says:

    Because he is a non-Floridian, Rick Scott needs to be purged!

  2. steve Says:

    Mr. Detzner,

    Why not do the right thing, and make sure that you don’t eliminate citizens of The United States and Florida from being a registered voter. Rather than automatically knocking them off the voter roll by comparing what their status was on their driving license 8 years ago.

    This is nothing more than a governor who follows his Koch brother, Grover Norquist friends. Who won by only a few votes and needs to get rid of as many voters on the other side before this years election.

    When men and women who are citizens, who fought and served this great country, who have voted for decades in this state, are removed and their right to vote is stripped away. Something is very wrong!

  3. Gord Says:

    If one citizen is Purged and is disenfranchised this becomes a horrible attack on the other side. How many of the Purged voters were republican I bet not many.

  4. Jason Says:

    There is nothing wrong with what he is doing, just in the method it is being done. Doing it too close to the election to correct errors, and doing it based on drivers license alone is not a good way to do it and likely illegal. That being said, those people who support illegal’s right to vote, support the taking away of the value of an American citizen’s vote. Every vote cast by an illegal is negating the vote of a legal citizen who cast their vote for the opposing candidate regardless of party. The ones who support taking away voting rights are the ones who promote fraudulent elections.

  5. Cornfed Says:

    Just one more massive blunder by the Republican party with the fastest growing and quite religious conservative minority group, Hispanics. What’s Marco Rubio going to do about this?

  6. LRT Says:

    Why not just PURGE Scott?

  7. nookly Says:

    Democrats need the illegals and the dead to vote. It is the only way they can win.
    Vote early, vote often. It is the liberal way.

    Holder should be on jail. Not telling states to allow illegal voting.

  8. Rich Bartholomew Says:

    Republican leaders need to realize that their attempts to block registration drives, early voting and, ultimately, voter participation on this year’s election are all steps that are highly offensive to many Republican voters. We are ashamed of their anti-voting actions.

  9. Native Floridian Says:

    Gov. Scott will be a one-term Gov. How he got there in the first place was a farce.If he had his way oil platforms would dot the landscape off of our wonderful beaches, certain minority groups would not be able to vote, speaking your mind would be illegal, and Florida would be sent back to the paranoid and secretive era of Pres. Nixon and his felonious cronies.

  10. JK40 Says:

    I bet it is still being done. He thinks he is above the law. FED’s check it out!

  11. Rich Says:

    Amen Jason. Does it frighten anybody that we don’t seem to have a good system for keeping tracking of who’s here legally and who’s not?

  12. MM Says:

    When are we going to stop the illegals from abusing the hard working honest citizens of America? When? We are literally working for the illegals since we are now giving them bigger tax rebates than we get, better healthcare (and free on us) than we get, and we are forced to pay for ESOL (teach their children English) and put them through our education system. Where does it end? Our grandparents had to come in through the front door and proof themselves. These illegals are literally laughing all the way to our bank! This US government!

  13. ted Says:

    So all you folks who are against cleansing the rolls are for illegal voters the ability to cast a vote? Is that right? If so why not let anybody in the world who is thinking of coming to America, who has ever been in America or has a relative who is living in America the right to vote!

  14. Innocent Paul W Scott Says:

    Why would a silly thing like voting matter in a state which leads the nation in the HIGHEST # OF EXONEREES FROM DEATH ROW?

  15. L Says:

    last elections black panthers stood a voting polls with bats!!! Imagine trying to make sure voters r american citizen because we all know voter fraud doesnt exist!! One war hero which is a mistake that must be corrected immediately!!!! how many Mistakes were made out of the 2600 flagged? The number of voter fraud that has been documentated in this state???

  16. Floridian Says:

    I remember when this country cared more about illegal voters than those too stupid to have an ID and register themselves to vote. It is their responsibility to vote not the government’s obligation to make sure they do. Win at ALL cost is the Liberal way.

  17. RR Says:

    What is being done is right and should be done. The timing is the rub. This purge needs to happen, it should happen on a regular basis, as does presentation of identification to vote. How hard is it to get legal state issued ID? If the right to vote matters so much to the people complaining about the purge and voter ID then they would insure their legal right to vote was maintained. It comes down to personal responsibility. Take ownership for your rights and insure you protect them.

  18. Native Says:

    I would rather knock one legitimate voter off the roles and let them re-register than have 6000 who are not eligible. Where is the common sense in this country. Voting used to be a treasured right.

  19. Molly Staub Says:

    Gov. Scott is a piece of work. He’s trying to disenfranchise many and is an enemy of the school system, while unable to keep those promises he made.

  20. Innocent Paul W Scott Says:

    Sounds like you’d rather have 10 innocents killed than one guilty go free. That’s American is it? Hey Native– a right is a given bestowed, if you have to fight for it and claim it over and over than it’s NOT A RIGHT.

  21. Innocent Paul W Scott Says:

    RR — did you read the facts on this??? Is it A-OK by you that now TWO 90-yr-old VETS who fought for you, pathetic as you are, were among the citizens PURGED?? Let us guess, you’re a GOP GREAT AMERICAN — like this jackal in the middle who gloats — http://video.msnbc.msn.com/the-ed-show/47639810#47639810

  22. kelly Says:

    This is a distraction from the real voter fraud; absentee ballots. Only a signature and witness is required, no photo ID.

  23. richard mckenzie Says:

    As a legal, USA born citizen, if my name ever came up as being in violation of some kind of law, you can bet your sweet ass that I would be summoned and investigated to confirm or dispel the claim. Why can’t that be done in Florida instead of throwing out the entire process? Something stinks in Denmark….and in Florida

  24. Tea Lady Says:

    Per The Constitution of These United States, the Tenth Amendment reserves basic rights to The States. And this is clearly a State matter, not a federal matter. Therefore, The States have the Right to legislate these matters, without federal Big Government interference!

    States’ Rights!!

  25. R Neck Says:

    Scott be purged!

  26. JON Says:

    in the 2000 election 40k + people from ny and ohio came to fla and voted a second time ! yet al gore spent all his time checking hanging chads in dem controlled county s of dade broward and wpb in the 2008 election the McCann campain in its internal docs stated they had found several cases of ballet stuffing by the dem party!! if we can not have a system where the peoples vote for the president is secure and a person can by law vote 1 time and only one time for the president each election day and that there must be a means to make sure that you can not be able to vote in two or three states or vote in person and also by mail !! and have both count without spending time on jail !!! the the criminals we elect will steal the country from the people and make themselves rich at our expence!

  27. sam Says:

    Well that is good news. It is ridiculous what the republicans are doing. First they manufacture a fake voter fraud crisis when there isn’t one. Then they try to purge citizens, American born citizens, who fought for this country from the rolls, less than 90 days before an election (in violation of Federal law). DOJ needs to get involved.

    Florida also tried to ban voter drives, by banning the League of Women Voters from doing drives by making the rules so onerous that they gave up. Federal Judge just overturned that law as well.

    Voting is a right there is no need for the republicans do be purging and preventing drives except for a blatant effort to purge democrats from the rolls.

    It makes me sick!

  28. Arbar Says:

    This is a good thing.

    Since there is no statistically significant voter fraud, I’m hoping this goes to court and Scott (and by extension the GOP nationwide) has to admit these laws they’re passing throughout the nation are nothing but voter suppression.

  29. sam Says:

    People who are in this country illegal don’t vote! The idea that they do is a myth from the right and the radio hosts. If you are in this country illegally the last thing you want to do is draw attention to yourself by voting. There is no evidence that voter fraud is a problem, this is manufactured by the right to intimidate actual citizens to make it harder for poor people, for brown and black people to vote.

  30. justin Says:

    Hopefully new president is not a muslim jew loving illegal immigrant supporting coward. We need to get obum outta here

  31. CMike Says:

    This whole thing is a farce. Where has actual voter fraud occurred? We’ve ALWAYS had to have id to cast a ballot, so the point of this is really to make it harder to vote which will affect traditional Democratic Party votes i.e. poor people, the elderly, and minorities. America is browning very quickly and Republicans are doing whatever they can to keep people from voting.

  32. Julia Says:

    There really wasn’t voter fraud of the magnitude that the GOP tries to make us believe–closer to double digits in the whole state. If voting databases were going to be corrected it should be done in off-election years.
    The disappointment of this purge is the incorrect information given out as to why it had to be done at this time, the incorrect list used, and the fact that Democrats, minorities, and Independents were targeted.
    In America, we should be trying to get our registered voters out to vote instead of finding ways to discourage voting. Did you notice that Vote by Mail or Absentee voting was not targeted by the Republican Legislature? Know why?

  33. Tom Says:

    Innocent Paul. It does bother us that you can’t read. The vets in question received the letter and responded appropriately. They were NOT purged. Voting is a right of US Citizens and those legalized. Enough of your liberal rant.

  34. Innocent Paul W Scott Says:

    A-Ok that VETS were even in question? You’re surely a “Great American,” Tom! Won’t even ask you to “prove” it as ignorance speaks volumes. Sincerely hope that none of your family, friends or neighbors ends up innocent on Death Row. But alas, in your world that doesn’t happen.

  35. Carol G Says:

    Native, your quote “I would rather knock one legitimate voter off the roles and let them re-register than have 6000 who are not eligible…” – are you serious? My mother and father inlaw were Marines in WWII, my brother in law and my father in Vietnam. If you’re so willing to take away the rights of 1 citizen, start with YOUR OWN.

  36. Carol G Says:

    The names of those voters being dropped are POSTED on the back page of the newspaper in a size 6 font. Liberal rant? Get a grip. Those so willing to disregard the rights of others should relinquish their own first.

  37. Jack Flash Says:

    When you have nothing of real substance to offer the middle class, you do whatever necessary to win an election. You lie about facts, you purge the voter rolls…. basically the 2000 election all over again.

  38. STOP THE PURGE Says:

    Tea Lady,

    Thanks for CONFIRMING that Tea Party Republicans hate America and the U.S. Constitution.

  39. Roxanne Coffelt Says:

    I’m curious to know how many of these people being purged are registered as Democrats and how many are registered as Republicans. Also I saw on TV that although 68% of Floridians are white, only 13% of those being purged are white. Even though they will probably receive a letter (unless it gets lost in the mail) and can request a hearing, it makes it as difficult as possible for them. It will keep many of them from voting next election, which is the real goal here.

  40. Jesus Says:

    What is it about Florida and elections? Florida is known for tourism, sunshine and election scandals. I am sick of politicians playing with voting rights! There isn’t a person they can point to and say they had voted illegally. Why do we have to be the laughing stock of the election process? Vote all the bums out of office!!!!

  41. STOP THE PURGE Says:

    Roxanne,

    News reports I’ve seen have said that over 60% of purged voters were either African-American, Hispanic or Independent voters.

    The ONLY group of voters whose number of purged voters is proportionately LESS than that same group in the general population was white Republican voters.

    The ONLY group that was not impacted was Republicans.

    Shocking right?

    It’s also ILLEGAL. And Rick Scott’s administration should be investigated by the FBI for illegal and possibly criminal activity.

  42. STOP THE PURGE Says:

    EVERY – SINGLE – ELIGIBLE – VOTER – NEEDS – TO VOTE!

    Let’s show them we refuse to take their criminal tactics sitting down… by taking action to register more voters than EVER BEFORE!

    Instructions to register are here:

    http://election.dos.state.fl.us/voter-registration/voter-reg.shtml

  43. STOP THE PURGE Says:

    Registered or Eligible Voters:

    TAKE 5 SECONDS TO CHECK YOUR CURRENT VOTER REGISTRATION STATUS:

    http://registration.elections.myflorida.com/CheckVoterStatus

  44. Innocent Paul W Scott Says:

    Thanks a million, Stop the PURGE!! Just did and our team is ALL SET, WHEW!! Spreading the link far and wide.

    And to “JESUS” — What the heck are you doing in FL anyway? Don’t you know this sacred profetus-forget-the-rest territory? Take your homeless, unemployed, uneducated, imprisoned, naked, addicted with you. If you’re not a blessed fetus YOU’RE DOA in FL.

  45. DIEGO VIEJO Says:

    This only shows that the entire election system in Florida needs to be overhauled. Some SOEs should be thrown out. A new system with a photo ID like the driver’s license with a thumb print should be given to voters. Everybody should have to reregister and provide official birth certificates or naturalization papers. Don’t let illegals vote and toss the Motor Voter law. I go through the voter rolls all the time and find tons of double registrations. Let us stop all of the double voting in different states. Let us making voting a right which we can all repect.

  46. STOP THE PURGE Says:

    You got it Paul. Best of luck.

    Btw, may as well send the voter registration link around along with the registration status link. Send em both around!

    Instructions to register are here:

    http://election.dos.state.fl.us/voter-registration/voter-reg.shtml

  47. Ralphyboy Says:

    Ted Deutch was complaining about this and in “Broward County 259 were identified and 6 were in error” That means 253 should have been removed. Alcee Hastings, our own convicted representative, is upset, too. They are saying that 20% are in error. Again, that means the 80% of the list should be removed.

    1 vote, in the Senate, decided the “stimulus and Obamacare”. Al Franken won by just over 300 votes. Convicted felons, who did not have their rights restored, voted in Minnesota. 23 have been convicted of this and their names were public record. 10 were selected, at random and asked for whom they had voted. 9 of the 10 said Franken. See there is no need to worry about voter fraud. Over 1000 others have been found in Minnesota.

    What does a few illegal votes matter? A LOT.

  48. STOP THE PURGE Says:

    “Let us making voting a right which we can all repect.”

    I agree. We need to respect voting.

    We can START by not disenfranchising AMERICAN VOTERS as if we live in a third world dictatorship.

  49. STOP THE PURGE Says:

    Ralphyboy,

    Are you an idiot? Nobody supports improper voting.

    What we are offended about is the fact that the purge is ILLEGAL 30 days before an election by federal law and the fact that the list was ILLEGALLY designed to impact Democrats and Independents.

    If the list were at all proper, or if the public officials actually cared about the rule of law, not only would they have not performed the purge within 30 days of an election, but they would have a ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY towards list errors.

    Obviously you are just another “patriot” who thinks the GOP should go ahead and violate the law if it means better electoral chances for YOUR party.

    You are no patriot, you are no upstanding American citizen… you are just another pathologically dishonest Republican.

  50. STOP THE PURGE Says:

    Sorry, 90 days is the limit. You can’t purge within 90 days. It is less than 90 days to the August primary.

    Thus, the purge is illegal.

    Read about the whole shebang right here in this PDF letter:

    http://miamiherald.typepad.com/files/2012.06.01_-_legal_update_to_supervisors.pdf

  51. justanother voter Says:

    It’s about time that that illegals and anyone else who is in the states illegally sucking the life out of our taxes,and assistance programs that are for law abidding citizen and paid for by legal citizens have the rug yanked out from under them. It does not matter if a person is demacratic,republican,or liberal,just prove your a US citizen to have the right to vote, whats so hard about that!

  52. STOP THE PURGE Says:

    justanother voter,

    The Republican secretary of state should be able to prove that they can run an election fairly and honestly and within the law.

    What’s so hard about that?

    Because they DIDN’T.

    I’m sure you are outraged over the state’s violation of federal law, right?

    Or no, you don’t really care about illegal behavior if it is done by a Republican?

  53. martin merkau Says:

    Typical republican garbage they have a swing state in play and know romney can not win so get rid of the voters why not who will notice. Wrong answer We do notice

  54. Bob Says:

    @StopthePurge

    So to be clear you are for illegal people and non citizens voting in elections. Very nice.

  55. STOP THE PURGE Says:

    LOL @ “Bob”

    Heckuva job idiot.

    You’re either a blatant liar or you don’t know how to read American English.

    Which is it, punk?

  56. Election worker Says:

    I didn’t vote for Rick Scott, but I agree with this move to purge illegal voters 100%. I have worked the elections for decades and I can’t count how many people I have seen come in to vote that CLEARLY are not citizens. Many legitamate voters come in and complain about why those foreigners are voting, but there is nothing the election officials can do to stop it from happening. We have every right to purge those illegal voters from the system and stop them from running our country. Do it correctly and in a responsible way, but get those non-citizens off our voting registers!!!

  57. Same Ole, Same Ole Says:

    Nothing much I can add to what above has been said before:

    Compared to the current inept puppet in charge and his fellow traveller administration and supporters, most previous presidents appear much taller and wiser than they may have actually been.

  58. Sandy Foster Says:

    Voter fraud is a very serious issue and the purgung of illegals and non citizen residents from the Voter Registration files MUST be done. Those who are non-citizens are not legally entitkled to vote, it is a right granted bythe Constitution to legal citizens of teh Unnited States of America and only to legal citizens. Those who are not eligible must not be allowed to vote! At the last Election, the man behind me in line to vote was here illegally and didn’t make any secret of it and he was allowed to vote even after it was brought to the attention of the Election Officials. Our most orecious right is our right to vote, do not let it be deluted.

  59. STOP THE PURGE Says:

    Hey Sandy,

    You know what’s another “very serious issue”?

    Spiders from Mars coming down to the Earth and voting!

    Because that happens as often as non-citizens voting.

    Also, if you can’t spell “United” as in “United States of America” then you simply cannot ve taken seriously.

    It is simply pathetic that Republicans come on this blog and cheer the open and overt violation of federal law!

    People go to JAIL for voter fraud. I hope they prosecute Rick Scott to the letter of the law.

    And to those people who support this ILLEGAL activity because of your political persuasion, SHAME ON YOU! The rule of law is NOT OPTIONAL.

    Those of you who so casually shrug off the Rule of Law in America are NOT patriots. Period. You are a disgrace to this country and everything the Founders stood for. Shame on you!!!

  60. DIEGO VIEJO Says:

    Poor Stop the Purge thinks it is a great sin to have a typo, because people simply cannot VE taken seriously. VE? Are you a foreigner? I guess AG Holder doesn’t uphold the Rule of Law when he will not prosecute the New Black Panther Party for voting violations saying he will not prosecute blacks. . But Holder will sue the State of Arizona for trying to enforce stopping all of those illegal aliens from entering the USA which is the federal governments responsiblity. Of course no illegals register to vote. By the way, voting is a State’s Right if you would care to look it up in the US Constitution that you are not very familiar with. Holder and Obama should both be put in jail for all of the crimes they have committed against the USA,

    For a government that says that illegals who illegally registered to vote should be protected and a state government that says they should be purged from the voting rolls, I say don’t side with the Feds. I have worked over 11 years as a poll worker and 3 Supervisor’s of Election as to what they do to investigate fraudulent registration. All 3 replied: “It’s not my job.” They say it is the responsibilty of INS, ICE or any other agency to investigate as to whether the illegals checked the I AM A CITIZEN BOX. They never investigate. From then on they are free to vote, get free schooling, free Social Security after 65 although they never paid into the system. free tuition and set back the tax payers billions each year. Yes let us protect the illegals and to Hell with the tax payers.

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  63. PIT-36l Says:

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