The state has won a year long battle for access to a federal database that will help prevent non-citizens from voting. The victory comes too late to change who votes in Florida’s next statewide election.
For nearly a year Governor Rick Scott has fought the feds for better information in the state’s efforts to prevent non-citizens from voting. Saturday, the feds gave in, granting the state access to a Department of Homeland Security immigration database. Chris Cate a spokesman for the Division of Elections says it’s a huge win for the state.
“I’m really excited about the process and we hope that our efforts that we’ve already accomplished are going to help other states do the same thing and be able to remove non-citizens in other states. So it really isn’t just a big deal for Florida but it’s a big deal for the entire nation.”
But getting access to the database isn’t the final step. The Division of Elections will still have to develop its policy before it can begin checking names and that could take weeks.
That makes the likelihood of the purge picking back up before August 14th primary unlikely.
The delay is just fine with Ron Labasky, an attorney for Florida’s elections supervisors. When the supervisors were given the original list of voters in May it was flawed, and US citizens, some of them war heroes were caught in the mix.
Labasky says, when the purge resumes, supervisors will go above and beyond to make sure no legal voter is cast off the roles.
“We want to protect their rights and be very diligent and very thorough in ensuring that if we remove somebody that clearly by the preponderance of the evidence they should have been removed and weren’t legally on the voter’s rolls.”
Scrutinizing the entire process will be voter rights groups. They’ll be watching the state and the election supervisors and are ready to sue if voting rights are violated.
Opponents of the purge who believe the state’s efforts are politically motivated say the powers that be don’t care about keeping voters from casting primary ballots. They believe the goal is to discourage minorities from voting in November. The state refutes those claims. The Division of Elections maintains, it’s a nonpartisan governing body and is only concerned with the sanctity of the election.