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UPDATE: Elections supervisors to quit processing voter purge list

Friday, June 1st, 2012 by Dara Kam

Elections supervisors will stop using a flawed list of potential non-citizens to scrub the voter rolls, Martin County Supervisor of Elections Vicki Davis, president of the state’s elections supervisors association, said this morning.

The U.S. Department of Justice yesterday told Secretary of State Ken Detzner that the voter purge process, launched by Detzner in April, appears to violate at least two federal voting laws. DOJ gave Detzner until June 6 to respond.

The Justice Department letter and the problematic list make the scrub undoable, Davis said.

“That’s why we’re just stopping. There are just too many variables with this entire process at this time for supervisors to continue,” Davis, president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, said.

Ron Labasky, the association’s general counsel, is sending a memo to the state’s 67 elections supervisors this morning telling them to stop processing the list, Davis said.

“My advice under these circumstances, and based upon the previous issues that have been presented concerning the list, as well as the fact that the Department has indicated its intent to take further actions to review its list to determine its validity, I recommend that Supervisors of Elections cease any further action until the issues were raised by the Department of Justice are resolved between the parties or by a Court,” Labasky wrote to the supervisors today.

Detzner in April sent a list of more than 2,600 flagged voters identified as potential non-citizens by matching the state’s voter registration database with driver’s license records. But the error-riddled list included the names of U.S.-born citizens – like one Brooklyn-born war hero – and others who are naturalized citizens.

At their summer meeting last month, elections supervisors of both parties raised objections to the list to state Division of Elections officials, who then said the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles would scrub the list more carefully using a Department of Homeland Security database.

But yesterday, Labasky told the supervisors that Detzner’s office said DHSMV could not run the names through the federal database. Detzner, a Republican, also yesterday again asked Homeland Security officials for access to the database.

The non-citizen purge list – the brainchild of Republican Gov. Rick Scott – has created a national firestorm over elections in crucial swing-state Florida and has sparked a partisan battle over what to do next.

Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry this morning announced an online campaign to get people to contact the White House and ask for access to the federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements, or SAVE, database.

Democrats say the voter purge process is part of a GOP effort to keep voters away from the polls in November.

A federal judge yesterday blocked portions of a controversial elections law passed last year, saying a 48-hour requirement for third party groups to turn in voter registration forms was “harsh and impractical.”

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