Florida plans to resume controversial voter purge

By Eric W. Dolan
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 16:52 EDT
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The Florida Department of State plans to restart its controversial voter purge before the presidential election in November using information from a federal database.

A powerpoint presentation obtained by Think Progress indicated that Florida election officials would receive a revised list of potential non-citizens before October 15. Florida won a legal victory in June when a district judge ruled the purge of suspected non-citizens from the voter rolls could continue, but the purge was not expected to occur before the November elections because of legally required notices and hearings.

There were a myriad of mistakes found in Florida’s list of nearly 2,700 suspected non-citizens that could have prevented eligible voters from casting a ballot. Florida now hopes to cross-check their list with the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE), a federal database typically used to gauge the immigration status of benefits applicants. Florida obtained the database in July after suing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

But at least one Florida election official thinks the federal database won’t help.

“We’re 55 days in front of a huge election,” Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Anne McFall told Think Progress. “It just doesn’t help us whatsoever. I went through the SAVE training today — it’s the most convoluted thing you’ve ever seen in your life. It’s awful. Even if they got the list of names to us tomorrow, there wouldn’t be time. That person has due process. Anyone has due process in the state and country.”

Facing a lawsuit by the Advancement Project and other groups, Florida on Wednesday agreed to restore individuals who had been tossed off the voter rolls during the purge earlier this year unless election officials confirm them as non-citizens in the SAVE database.

“The citizens of Florida have taken another step toward realizing the right to vote, without any undue barriers imposed by the state,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Penda D. Hair. “The lawsuit and settlement show that all citizens should have the same right to cast a ballot without confronting unfounded questions about their eligibility to vote.”

[Vote here via Shutterstock]

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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