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State News

State Pushes to get about 2600 Non-citizens Off Voter Rolls

non-resident-voters.jpg
NBC 2
Citizenship Verification

The Florida Department of State has launched a new initiative to remove non-citizens from Florida’s Voter Rolls. “We were able to have our voter roll database communicate with highway safety’s database which can identify non-citizens and obviously if we have a match of a non-citizen on our voter rolls, we need to take immediate action to have them removed,” said Department of State spokesman Chris Cate.

The department sent 2,600 potential non-citizens to Florida’s 67 Supervisors of Elections for review and if warranted, removal, from voter rolls. Leon County Supervisor of Elections, Ion Sancho, said he received six potential names to review. But he warned people shouldn’t be alarmed about the potential non-voters because their impact is negligible.

 “I can tell you that in the 24 years that I’ve been the Supervisor of Elections in Leon County, no election has ever been determined by six votes or less. The very first thing that citizens have to recognize, is while even if there are two thousand people on an 11.2 million person voter registration roll, it’s not going to influence of any elections fraudulently. “

Sancho said that point needs to be underscored because of the increase in claims of voter fraud, in the height of this election season. But the Department of State’s Chris Cate said the initiative is all about ensuring accuracy.

 “It’s really not necessarily about the Election this year. This is something that we had an opportunity to improve the accuracy of our voter rolls, and as soon as we discovered that opportunity, we took quick action to take advantage of it. If we had been able to access this information last year, we absolutely would have because it’s a crucial mission of our agency, and our department to have the best and most accurate voter rolls as possible.”

Cate said names are being carefully reviewed to avoid errors. To be eligible to cast a ballot in Florida, one must be a state resident and U.S. citizen without a felony record. Some convicted felons are eligible to vote if their voting rights are restored by the Governor and Cabinet.

The issue of unlawful voters will surely add fuel to the partisan debate over voter fraud. Last year the Republican led-Legislature put the brakes on voter registration groups and early voting on the Sunday before Election Day. The crack-down was framed by Republicans as a way to reduce fraud while Democrats said the measure was intended to suppress voting.  Now the issue is all wrapped up in court and the shadow of the 2000 presidential election still looms. Leon County Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho said he welcomes any improvements to Florida’s voting systems, but no other state comes close to its track record.

 “Regardless of all of these people who are saying there is this problem, the big picture is, the state of Florida, setting up the database, deciding to solve the problem that destroyed the elections in 2000, we’ve done a remarkably good job in that and I would put 99.98 percent any voter registration database in the United States of America.”

State law allows for anyone whose citizenship is called into question to get at least 30 days to provide proof of their legal status.