DOJ to Sue Florida Over Voter Purge

The Department of Justice sent a letter to Florida on Monday ordering the state to halt its voter purge or face going to court.

The Department of Justice is planning to sue the state of Florida for refusing to stop its non-citizen voter purge. 

U.S. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez sent a letter Monday to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner stating that Florida's decision to continue purging its voting rolls would leave the DOJ no choice but to take the Sunshine State to court. 

 The letter (which is attached as a PDF below the picture) states:

... Your has provided no information that allows us to change our view that the State’s new list maintenance program for verification of citizen is a “program the purpose of which is to systematically remove the names of ineligible voters from the official list of eligible voters,” and that this program is being conducted within the 90-day quiet period established by the (National Voter Registration Act). Likewise, you have provided no information indicating that the program fits within any of the statutory exceptions for programs that may be conducted within that quiet period.

Instead, it appears that Florida has initiated a new program for system voter removal, which may ultimately target more than 180,000 registered voters …

… In these circumstances, continuing with any future mailings on this basis during the 90-day quiet period, or removing persons form the voter registration list for failing to respond to the State’s inquiries to date, violate Section 8 of the NVRA. Please immediately cease this unlawful conduct. 

In a May 31 letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, the Justice Department said the state's procedure to verify voting rolls violates the Voting Rights Act of 1973 and the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

The Department of Justice said the system to remove voters from the rolls cannot take place within 90 days of an election. Because of the Aug. 14 primary, Florida needs to stop the process now, according to the Department of Justice.

Pinellas County Halts Voter Verification

Locally, Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark has ordered her staff to stop its voter verification process because . 

According to Clark, five out of 36 names her office checked were legal voters.

"We’ve been told not to proceed with the verification process, and we don’t want to take anyone off the list who could be an eligible voter," Nancy Whitlock, communications director for the Supervisor of Elections, told Patch. "At this point we are just stopping the process. Not doing anything else with it further."  

Issue Comes Up on National Stage

Speaking to the League of Women Voters on Monday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder vaguely addressed the issue:

"Despite the decades that have passed, and the progress that’s been achieved, since then — and despite our nation’s long tradition of extending voting rights — to non-property owners and women, to people of color and Native Americans, and to younger Americans —your mission, in many ways, has never been more important. We saw the important value in your work several days ago, in an important ruling in the case that LWV helped to bring against the state of Florida, in which you have successfully challenged the state’s new voter registration statute, and in so doing protected the rights of perhaps millions of eligible voters.

It’s clear that your actions in that case, and your similar efforts nationwide, have been fueled by both growing concerns that essential voting rights could be limited because of recent state-level legislative changes; and by a deep commitment — to upholding the values that have long distinguished our nation as a global leader and example, and that continue to define who we are as Americans."

According to Think Progress, in an interview with Fox News Monday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) told Neil Cavuto that the state would sue the Department of Homeland Security

“The Florida’s Secretary of State office wil be filing a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security to give us that database,” Scott said in the interview with Cavuto. “We want to have fair, honest elections in our state and so we have been put in a position that we have to sue the federal government to get this information.” 

"For nearly a year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has failed to meet its legal obligation to provide us the information necessary to identify and remove ineligible voters from Florida's voter rolls," Detzner said in a statement, according to The Associated Press. "We can't let the federal government delay our efforts to uphold the integrity of Florida elections any longer."

Florence van Steenbergen June 12, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Why in the world would any voter be reluctant to furnish ID???????
John Dolac June 13, 2012 at 01:39 AM
I've tried to come up with a good answer to that. I can't..
Janet Emery June 14, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Just think of the money that will be spent on this worthless purge. Just like Scott's drug testing for welfare (note that his company did the testing)!!! What a crook that man is and makes FL look like the Land of the Wingnuts!!!


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