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Appeals Court Rules Florida's 2012 'Voter Purge' Was Illegal

Jessica Palombo

A federal appeals court ruled this week that a purge of voters in Florida during the 2012 elections was illegal.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta found the 2012 effort to remove non-citizen voters, spearheaded by Secretary of State Ken Detzner, violated the National Voters Registration Act.

Part of the act says  voters can’t be purged within 90 days of a primary or general election. But according to the ruling, records show people were removed from the voter rolls within that time period.

“It’s a big win for Florida voters, but importantly, it makes a very strong statement nationally for other states who may have contemplated these kinds of activities as well," says League of Women Voters of Florida President Dierdre Macnab. 

She says the ruling set a precedent for other states considering voter purges.

A spokeswoman for Detzner said the office is reviewing the decision. Detzner recently called off another planned scrub of the state's voter rolls due to changes to a federal government database the state wanted to use as a  cross-reference.