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Florida Elections Chief Calls Off Planned 'Voter Purge'

Jessica Palombo

Florida won’t be moving ahead with a planned purge of the state’s voter rolls.  Secretary of State Ken Detzner discussed the change of plan Thursday with local elections supervisors.

A sweeping purge of suspected non-citizens from the state’s voter rolls two years ago was thwarted by lawsuits. The state eventually got permission to cross-reference a federal government database but now that won’t be happening.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner says he’s delaying the purge until next year because that federal database is currently changing.

State-based civil liberties groups cheered the announcement.

"Many concerns were raised by those who attended each stop of the Project Integrity tour regarding the accuracy of the SAVE database data as well as the lack of clarity around the many sources of that data," said Brad Ashwel' with the non-profit, non-partisan Common Cause Institute. "Unfortunately, many of these questions were never fully answered by the division and it still remains unclear as to how that database can be useful in determining voter eligibility when it can't even accurately verify whether or not individuals are citizens."

The last purge was set to happen in the run-up to the 2012 elections, and this year’s purge would have occurred prior to November’s statewide election.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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