Fla. Elections Supervisors: More Info Needed Before Voter Purge Can Start

Jul 17, 2012

The federal government granted Florida access to a Homeland Security immigration database over the weekend. But, Florida’s election supervisors say they are waiting for more detailed instructions from the state before they proceed with removing non-citizens from the rolls.

For the purge to happen, the president of the state election supervisors association Vicki Davis says, the process must include backup documentation along with a list of names. She says that’s what keeping supervisors from removing suspected non-citizens during the state-directed purge so far.

“We have not had credible and reliable information in order to remove them," she says. "We have not had any backup documentation to support their removal.”

Davis says, if the process is like the one for removing felons from the rolls, the suspected ineligible voters will be automatically removed within 60 days if they do not respond to letters and newspaper ads requesting proof of citizenship. The state and federal government are expected to finalize their access agreement within weeks. Then, workers from the Florida Division of Elections will need to be trained in how to use the database before they can send names to election supervisors. All of this makes it highly unlikely anyone will be removed before Florida's Aug. 14 primary elections.

Davis says, “We are all in agreement that our voter rolls need to be clean. We just want a process that works for the [State] Division [of Elections], for supervisors of elections and, most of all, we want to make sure that the process protects the rights of our voters.”

The access to the database comes after a federal judge recently ruled Florida's purge of non-citizens does not violate federal law. The U.S. Department of Justice had sued Fla. to stop the purge, citing its proximity to the upcoming election.