Rick Scott Purging Eligible Voters From Florida’s Rolls

May 30, 2012 1:10 a.m.

Six members of Florida’s congressional delegation are pushing Gov. Rick Scott (R) to stop purging the state’s voting rolls of eligible voters, after numerous individuals were improperly flagged as non-citizens.

The state used an outdated driver’s license database in their initial effort to scrub non-citizens from the voting rolls. Officials believed that 182,000 voters on the rolls were non-citizens, and began sending out notifications that required voters to prove their citizenship within 30 days.

But plenty of legal U.S. citizens who should be allowed to vote wound up on the purge list. In Miami-Dade County, 1,638 people were flagged by the state as “non-citizens,” yet at least 359 people provided the county with proof of citizenship and another 26 people were identified by the county as U.S. citizens, ThinkProgress reported. An analysis by the Miami Herald found that Hispanic, Democratic and independent-minded voters were most likely to be targeted by the purge effort.

In a letter Tuesday to Scott, Reps. Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Corrine Brown, Frederica Wilson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Kathy Castor asked Scott to stop the purge, arguing that the process “fails to meet the basic standards of accountability.”

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The members of Congress wrote that it would be “irresponsible to proceed so quickly and with so little room for oversight.”

“If the goal is truly to remove ineligible individuals who were intentionally or somehow mistakenly registered to vote, then that process must move forward in a nonpartisan manner with transparency, uniformity and great care,” the members of Congress wrote.

The group wrote that it was “important to remember, Governor Scott, that Florida has never encountered problems with mass voter fraud. Unfortunately however, our state does have a troubled history of wrongfully purging from our rolls the names of legitimate voters mistakenly deemed ineligible to vote.”

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) said at a press conference that they “cannot sit idly by while Republicans use stories of mass voter fraud to justify passing laws that will disenfranchise our citizens,” according to his prepared remarks.

The Justice Department objected to changes to Florida’s voting laws back in March, arguing that the a shortened early voting period and strict regulations on third-party voter registration groups may have been passed with discriminatory intent.

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