voter purge

Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

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.

Local lawmakers from more than 20 states convened the first ever Voting Rights Project Policy Summit in Washington D.C. this week. Representatives from both Georgia and Florida were among those who attended the summit created by the left-leaning group America Values First.

Georgia’s House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, the Summit’s moderator, says one main goal they looked at is how to advance legislation through Republican-led Legislatures. The answer, she says? Compromise.

Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

Florida election officials are ready to renew their effort to remove non-citizens from the voter rolls now that the federal government has granted access to a Homeland Security database. But some Democratic lawmakers question the merits of the so-called “voter purge” after last year’s controversial attempt flagged about 180,000 eligible voters for removal. 

On Monday, Secretary of State Ken Detzner made the latest in a series of presentations about the new non-citizen removal effort nicknamed Project Integrity.

LHatter / WFSU News

Florida’s ongoing tussle with voting rights took a front seat at Tallahassee’s 10th annual mayor’s summit Tuesday.

In the past four years, the Scott administration has put a stop to the semi-automatic restoration of felon voting rights, and tried to purge the state’s voter rolls of non-citizens. Those topics divided the crowd. Nita Kirkpatrick of Tallahassee says she has friends who split their residency between Florida and other states and vote in both places:

Voters cast their ballots.
Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

As the state looks to renew its effort to remove non U.S. citizens from Florida’s voter rolls, Secretary of State Ken Detzner will be traveling the state next month to get input from local supervisor of elections. But, some say they're skeptical about the plan.

Senator Arthenia Joyner
Florida Senate

A Democratic state lawmaker is blasting Gov. Rick Scott for a renewed effort to remove non-citizens from state voter rolls. Sen. Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa) says the so-called “voter purge” disproportionately targets Democratic-leaning minority voters.

Several minority-advocacy groups in Florida are conducting large-scale voter-registration and education drives ahead of the state's registration deadline on Oct. 9. The groups have been going full throttle since June, when a judge struck down Florida’s new restrictions on third-party voter drives.

The groups, which represent Hispanic, black and other minority voters, announced their registration efforts on Wednesday.

The candidate for a Florida Senate seat in Pinellas County, Chris Pennington, says there’s a high possibility non-citizens are influencing Florida’s state elections. Pennington says foreigners could create a company in Florida to donate to political campaigns. But he also believes Florida Governor Rick Scott has the power to stop the potential outside influence. When Pennington registered as a candidate he says he noticed a loop-hole in the donation election laws allowing for outsiders to sway American politics.

Florida election officials finally have access to a federal immigration database it plans to use to screen voters. The Department of State announced on Thursday plans to re-start efforts to purge Florida’s voter rolls of ineligible voters.

The state of Florida will continue purging illegally registered voters from its rolls ahead of the general election in November. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Ken Detzner said Florida has made progress toward accessing a federal non-citizen database , called SAVE, during the last few days.

Detzner says the original list of about 180,000 suspicious names that the state generated last year will not be used.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio is defending Florida’s Voter purge.  reports Rubio made the statements on NPR’s Diane Rehm show Thursday where he also discussed his positions on immigration.

Senator Marco Rubio says he believes Florida’s attempt to purge its voter rolls of non-citizens is a good thing.

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.

Feds Approve Florida's Access to Citizens List

Jul 14, 2012

After a year-long dispute with the federal government, the state of Florida has won access to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security citizenship database. This allows the state to move forward with plans to purge potential non-citizens from voter rolls.

Capital Report: 06-29-2012

Jun 29, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a key part of President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare law, the requirement that most people carry health insurance or pay a fine—or, in the court’s words, a tax. In ruling the so-called individual mandate constitutional, the high court thwarted the efforts of several states, including Florida, to block it. But as Lynn Hatter reports, the outcome of the case has Florida’s Republican leaders scrambling to figure out what to do next. 

Leon County’s Elections Supervisor, Ion Sancho, said he has no plans to remove voters from the county’s voter rolls despite a ruling from a federal judge saying it’s okay to purge non-citizen. Sancho said he doesn’t think the information about who is or isn’t a citizen is accurate enough.

A federal judge rejected a request by the US Department of Justice to put a restraining order on Florida’s attempt to purge non-citizens from its voter rolls. The Department says federal law prohibits the removal of voters within 90 days of an election, but Judge Robert Hinkle said removing non-citizens is okay.

Capital Report: 06-22-2012

Jun 22, 2012

A months-long debate between Florida Governor Rick Scott and the state’s public universities over tuition increases came to a head this week, and the result disappointed both sides. Students will pay more for their classes this year, and as Lynn Hatter reports, negotiations over HOW MUCH more they will pay, reveal divisions within the board that oversees the schools.

Florida is now facing a third lawsuit challenging the Department of State’s efforts to purge ineligible voters from the rolls. A group of voter and civil rights organizations are filing a lawsuit alleging the purge is discriminatory.

Kathy Culliton-Gonzalez is with a group called “Advancement Project.” She said the organizations are the first to sue under Section Two of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It’s a move she said will give their suit staying power.

Longtime Floridian Eileen Selis knows what it’s like to get a purge letter from the state:

 “I was frightened. I’ve no reason to be, but you know, you get that, and you get a little scared.” 

Selis is 76. She was born in Pennsylvania in 1935. Her parents hail from New York and Pennsylvania. And She’s one of about 2600 people who have received similar letters. The move comes as the state attempts to verify the status of more than 180-thousand Florida voters it suspects of being non-U.S. Citizens.

Florida Governor Rick Scott says he was once mistaken for a dead person and taken off the state’s voter rolls.

Scott, who’s name is Richard Lynn Scott, had been confused with a Richard E. Scott. The two share the same birthday. Scott and says he presented his ID to elections officials to prove he was still alive.

Florida and the federal government are once again clashing—this time over the state’s attempt to purge its voter rolls of suspected non-citizens.  The voter purge issue has now spawned dueling lawsuits over whether the state can move forward with its plan.

Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is the latest person to jump into the heated debate over Florida’s push to purge its voter rolls of suspected non-citizens.  Nelson’s remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday were preceded by Governor Rick Scott’s rounds on TV talk shows defending the effort.

At the Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office, volunteers sign up to work with the League of Women Voters.

One of the group’s core missions is to help people participate in democracy by registering them to vote.  On Wednesday, about 15 volunteers showed up to become voter registrars. One of them is Katie Pospyhalla, a college student majoring in Middle Eastern studies who said people her age don’t care enough.

Capital Report: 06-08-2012

Jun 8, 2012

A battle is heating up over Florida voters, but it isn’t political candidates who are fighting. Voter registration groups claimed victory in court as a judge struck down parts of the state’s election law last week. And this week, the state stands defiant against a federal order to stop purging non-citizen voters. As Jessica Palombo reports, these fights over voting rights have pitted Florida Governor Rick Scott against the federal government and against all 67 of the state’s supervisors of Elections.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and others want a federal court to block the state’s push to remove suspected non-citizen voters.