Independent voters and Democrats are the most likely to face being purged from rolls. Republicans and non-Hispanic whites — the backbone of the Republican Party — are the least likely to face removal.
Based on the racial and ethnic disparities in who’s targeted and who’s not, liberals and Democrats accused Scott and his handpicked secretary of state of intentionally targeting minorities.
Asked Friday if the state is targeting minorities, Scott said “absolutely not.”
“The Secretary of State’s office is doing the right thing,” Scott said. “We want people to vote. But we want fair elections.”
But, under the federal Voting Rights Act, the state needs to get permission before hunting for ineligible voters, Christian Herren, the DOJ’s lead civil rights voting lawyer told the state Thursday. He also said the National Voter Registration Act bans purges within 90 days of an election, meaning Florida should have stopped May 16.
Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner’s office says it will respond to Herren next week.
Detzner’s office and the Republican Party of Florida chairman, Lenny Curry, have complained that another agency under President Obama, the Department of Homeland Security, has blocked access to a federal database, which would help the state more easily identify noncitizens.
So the state began comparing the voter rolls, instead, with a motor vehicle database containing citizenship information that has out-of-date information. As a result, some people are improperly flagged as noncitizens, such as the two lawful Broward voters — including a Battle of the Bulge veteran — falsely identified as potential noncitizens.
The uncertainty made the state’s elections-supervisors association so nervous that they advised members to cease contacting voters.
“We haven’t halted,” said Christina White, deputy Miami-Dade elections supervisor. “We found the state list had a 33 percent error rate.
But when voters like Cue admit they shouldn’t be on the rolls, the county will remove them.
Cue doesn’t seem to mind. “I don’t care about this country to know who to even vote for. I was born in Cuba many years ago,” he told a Herald reporter. “Now please, let me eat."
Staff writers Scott Hiaasen, Mary Ellen Klas and Michael R. Vasquez contributed to this article.