Gov. Scott sues Dept. of Homeland Security over database

By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, June 11, 2012 19:57 EDT
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Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R). Photo: Creative Commons.
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Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) announced Monday that the state would sue the Department of Homeland Security to gain access to a database containing information on eligible voters.

“The Florida’s Secretary of State office will be filing a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security to give us that database,” he said on Fox News. “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.”

Scott has pushed to purge all non-citizens from the Florida voting rolls before the November election. The U.S. Department of Justice has ordered Scott to halt the voter purge because it has not been approved under the Voting Rights Act. But Scott has said he has no intention of stopping.

“We have a year-round obligation to make sure the voter rolls are accurate. We are going to continue forward and do everything that we can legally do to make sure that ineligible voters cannot vote,” Chris Cate, a spokesman for the Florida secretary of state, said.

Scott is seeking access to the DHS SAVE system. But DHS officials have said there are “many issues” with the federal immigration database and that Florida could not access it until the state’s dispute with the Justice Department is resolved.

“Obviously, removing folks from the voter rolls is something we take seriously,” one official commented.

There have been a myriad of mistakes found in the Scott administration’s list of nearly 2,700 non-citizens that deny a large number of eligible voters the chance to cast a ballot.

One area serving as the prime example of the Scott administration’s mistakes is Miami Dade County, a predominantly Democratic area. 1638 people in the county were flagged as “non-citizens” by the state. However, at least 359 people already provided information proving their citizenship. An additional 26 people were identified as citizens by the county itself.

Despite Scott’s wishes to continue the voter purge, the process has essentially been stopped by Florida county elections chiefs. The state’s 67 county elections supervisors have refused to kick registered voters off the rolls.

“We’re just not going to do this,” Leon County’s elections supervisor, Ion Sancho, told the Miami Herald. “I’ve talked to many of the other supervisors and they agree. The list is bad. And this is illegal.”

Democrats have blasted Scott over the voter purge.

“It is disappointing but predictable that this very unpopular Tea Party Governor would spend taxpayer dollars trying to discourage Floridians from voting – despite the directive of the Department of Justice and the concerns expressed by the state’s Supervisors of Elections,” Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith said. “With all the serious problems in Florida, surely Rick Scott has something more important to do than focus on purging the voting rolls in pursuit of a problem that does not exist.”

[Image via Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons licensed]

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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