ACLU files lawsuit over voter purge

Jun 8, 2012

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and others want a federal court to block the state’s push to remove suspected non-citizen voters.

The ACLU and the Lawyer's Committee on Civil Rights Under Law, filed a lawsuit saying the purge violates the federal Voting Rights Act and that the state can’t go forward until it gets federal approval. The Florida Department of Justice sent a letter to the state saying the same thing.

Florida is one of a handful of state’s that, under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, must get federal approval for changes to elections law due to a history of discrimination in five counties.

Florida, at the urging of Governor Rick Scott, began its review of the voter rolls last year. The initial report turned up about 182,000 people the state believed to be non-citizens, and therefore ineligible voters.

Gov. Rick Scott and Secretary of State Ken Detzner have defended the purge, which relies on a state database of driver's license information to find likely non-citizens.

The state continues to push for access to a federal database in order to verify the immigration status of registered voters.

Detzner's office said it would review the ACLU’s lawsuit.

Local supervisors of elections of both parties have said some of the named on the state’s list are actually U.S. citizens.

Governor Rick Scott’s approval ratings have fallen in the wake of the voter purge.