Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, facing his own re-election fight this fall, took to the Senate floor this afternoon to rip Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott over his push to remove noncitizens from voter rolls — a move that has sparked the state and federal governments to trade lawsuits.
Nelson echoed the Democratic side in the fight, saying that Florida’s attempt to use flawed data would result in eligible voters being purged from the rolls.
In remarks he plans to deliver, Nelson recalls how his family has been in Florida 183 years and that he can’t believe his home state would make it harder for lawful citizens to vote.
“The governor and his administration should ensure the credibility of our voter rolls. It should have a program to suppress fraud. But above all else, the state must ensure that every lawful citizen who has the right to vote can do so without impediment,” according to a draft of Nelson’s remarks.
For his part, Scott has made the round of network TV morning news shows defending the state’s effort. His office also said Tuesday that its own investigation has yielded 100 noncitizens on a list of 2,600 voters cited as potentially ineligible by the Florida Department of State, up from 86 people discovered last week.
Florida Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry also swung back at Nelson, following his floor speech. Curry said the number of noncitizens found on Florida’s rolls is proof of a problem.
“So the question for Nelson and all opponents of verification efforts isn’t ‘is there evidence of fraud or illegal voting?’ because it is a matter of fact,” Curry said. “The question is, ‘how many illegal voters and votes are they willing to ignore?’”