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DOJ Sues Florida to Stop Screening of Voters
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On Tuesday, the U.S. Justice Department went to court alleging that the voter registration purge of non-citizens was being done too close to November presidential election.

On Monday, the Justice Department sent a letter to the state and followed through by suing Florida’s Secretary of State Ken Detzner for violation of the National Voter Registration Act, which prohibits “systematic removal” of voters from election lists within 90 days of an election for federal office.

Usually, that means purging of non-citizens from voter lists should stop before 90 days of the election. Florida holds its primary election on August 14, which means the deadline for changing voter lists was on May 16, and further changes in voter lists beyond that deadline violate the National Voter Registration Act.

  
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The lawsuit by the DOJ also alleges that the database matching process used by the state relies on outdated and inaccurate data and has “erroneously identified numerous registered voters in Florida who are U.S. citizens and who potentially could be deprived of their right to vote.”

With this new round, the war between the Obama administration and Florida’s Rick Scott government grows hotter. While Florida state policy supporters hold that the purge is required to maintain integrity of the voter rolls, opponents hold that it is a Republican effort to deprive minorities and the poor, who usually vote for Democrats.

Florida is a key state in the upcoming presidential elections and President Barrack Obama won in the state by 2.8 percent in 2008.

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The lawsuit seeks an order compelling Florida election officials to abandon the non-citizen voter registration purge being conducted by the state. The DOJ maintains that unless checked, the voter purge can lead to many U.S. citizens being deprived of their right to vote.

Governor Rick Scott, appeared on the CNN on Tuesday and said that he was only trying to uphold the law and “We did it on the basis of the data we had … We tried to do things the right way, but we’ve got to make sure that non-citizens do not dilute the vote of legitimate citizens. It’s illegal; it’s a crime.”



According to the Miami Herald, already 47 non-citizens who had cast unlawful ballots in the last election have been found and another 2,700 have been asked to produce proof of citizenship. The Obama administration is growing concerned.

The DOJ’s move came after Florida filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Department of Homeland Security seeking access to a national database, known as SAVE, detailing citizenship information to help verify whether non-citizens are illegally registered to vote in the state. Access to SAVE has so far been denied to Florida election officials by the Obama administration.



 

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