On Thursday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) demanded the state of Florida stop its efforts to purge non-citizens from its voting rolls. A letter sent to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner alleges the process violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the 1993 National Voter Registration Act.
The major charge of the letter reads:
Talking Points Memo (TPM) breaks it down:
The Justice Department sent a letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner Thursday evening demanding the state cease purging its voting rolls because the process it is using has not been cleared under the Voting Rights Act, TPM has learned.
DOJ also said that Florida’s voter roll purge violated the National Voter Registration Act, which stipulates that voter roll maintenance should have ceased 90 days before an election, which given Florida’s August 14 primary, meant May 16.
The Miami Herald further explains that "Under the Voting Rights Act, Florida needs federal approval before it makes changes to voting because five Florida counties – Monroe, Hillsborough, Collier, Hardee and Hendry – had minority-voting troubles decades ago." It also notes what has been done so far:
So far, Florida has flagged 2,700 potential noncitizen voters and sent the list to county elections supervisors, who have found the data and methodology to be flawed and problematic. The list of potential noncitizen voters – many of whom have turned out to be lawful citizens and voters – disproportionately hits minorities, especially Hispanics.
About 58 percent of those flagged as potential noncitizens are Hispanics, Florida’s largest ethnic immigrant population, a Miami Herald analysis found. Hispanics make up 13 percent of the overall 11.3 million active registered voters.
Independent voters and Democrats are the most likely to face being purged from the rolls. Republicans and non-Hispanic whites are the least likely.
“We are firmly committed to doing the right thing and preventing ineligible voters from being able to cast a ballot,” said Chris Cate, spokesman for Secretary of State Ken Detzner, responded to the Herald.