Under the act, Florida needs federal permission before making elections-related changes. But Scott’s administration didn’t ask. So DOJ said Florida should stop the purge.
Florida’s noncitizen hunt will disproportionately hit minorities, specifically Hispanics, who are the larges immigrant group. They are, therefore, the most likely to be targeted in a noncitizen voter purge. A Herald analysis found 58 percent of those flagged as potential noncitizens are Hispanic.
Republicans, the whitest and least immigrant-heavy political party in Florida, were the least likely to face a purge.
So far, only 13 people have been purged in Miami-Dade — out of 505 people contacted — because they acknowledged they weren’t citizens. Of them, two might have voted. The overwhelming number, 492, were found to be citizens.
In all, Miami-Dade had 1,637 potential noncitizens identified of the nearly 2,700 found by the state. Miami-Dade, like the other counties, has halted the noncitizen hunt because of problems with the state’s list and after the DOJ told the state to stop.
DOJ noted that Motor Voter bans voter purges within 90 days of a federal election — that is, as of May 16 in advance of the Aug. 14 primary.
Scott might fight DOJ in court. Republicans are cheering him on, claiming there’s widespread “voter fraud.” Democrats are fighting back the so-called “voter suppression.”
The two sides can’t seem to compromise or even agree on the same facts.
While the Florida Division of Elections should clean the rolls, someone should have realized that — federal law or not — this is a big undertaking, it would be politically explosive and it should have been started a lot earlier.
Still, it’s doubtful Florida would be in this situation if DHS had given access to SAVE when Florida asked in October 2011.
Without SAVE, Florida relied on a motor-vehicle database that’s not updated when someone becomes a citizen. So those immigrants who become citizens and then register to vote can look like noncitizens via a simple database query.
Initially, Florida found 180,000 potential matches. It then greatly pared down the list to almost 2,700 by double-checking the information and then sending its potential noncitizen list to county elections supervisors.
Florida won’t release its original list of 180,000 potential matches. DHS won’t let Florida have access to SAVE. And DOJ’s not being straight with the mainstream press or, apparently, with its enforcement of federal law.
“My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government,” Obama wrote on the White House’s blog. “We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.”
But closed government, of the type shown by DOJ and DHS, helps promote messy voter rolls and partisan recriminations. And just in time for the presidential elections.