Groups threaten to sue state over voter rolls purge

May 24, 2012

An effort by the state to remove thousands of non-U-S citizens from the voter rolls could soon be facing a lawsuit. Several civil rights and voting rights organizations sent a letter Thursday to Secretary of State Ken Detzner asking him to halt an initial plan to make sure a list of 2600 people are eligible voters. Local supervisor of elections were sent the list, and complained the list was not accurate. Victor Dimaio is with the Hillsborough Hispanic Coalition, one of the groups threatening to sue. He says not only is the list inaccurate, it targets specific groups.

“Unfortunately, what’s going on is the majority of the people being kicked off the ballots are primarily Hispanic and minorities and African Americans. I think they’re doing it selectively and unfairly, and in a democracy that we’re supposed to have and with the right to vote that every citizen has a right to share, I think this is a travesty," said Dimaio.

The groups also contend it’s illegal for the state to remove voters from the rolls less than 90 days before a federal election. Florida’s primary will be held August 14th, and falls within that 90-day period. But, a Department of State Spokesman says the state’s actions are legal and the state is obligated remove ineligible voters. Since sending the list of 2600 voters, state elections officials have started to draw up another list of 180,000 potentially ineligible voters to vet them through a federal database.