Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
Last week, after notifying the state of Florida of its intention to do so, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit [PDF], seeking to halt what Asst. U.S. Attorney General Thomas E. Perez described in his June 11, 2012 letter [PDF] to FL Sec. of State Ken Detzner (R), as "a new program for systematic voter removal, which may ultimately target more than 180,000 registered voters."
A longtime respected election official in the state went further, describing the attempted scrubbing of the rolls to be "un-American".
The lawsuit alleges that the ongoing, systematic voter removal program violates the provisions of the National Vote Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), which "expressly forbids such removal programs during the 90-day period before an election for Federal office."
The complaint seeks not only an immediate federal court injunction to stop the purge, but an order directing FL officials "to take all steps necessary to ensure that no registered voter identified as potentially ineligible based on the [faulty FL Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles] database and voter verification procedures...is removed from the voter rolls within 90 days of a primary or general election for Federal office."
The injunction may prove to be necessary only in three of the Sunshine State's 67 counties --- Lee, Collier and Bay --- where election officials have signaled they intend to continue the allegedly unlawful voter roll purge, even after the actions taken by the DOJ.
When interviewed last week by Brad Friedman on the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show, Leon County (Tallahassee), FL's legendary Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho --- the man placed in charge of the aborted 2000 Florida Presidential recount --- explained the reasons why most of the Supervisors of Elections (both Democratic and Republican) in each of the state's 67 counties have now refused to carry out the state-ordered purge. He described the ongoing effort by the Governor and Sec. of State as "shameful."
The DOJ's 6/11/12 letter also responded to, and seemed to debunk, the claim made by FL that it had been denied access to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) immigration database. The state, in its own lawsuit filed against the DHS last week, has cited lack of access to that database as their reason for using the less reliable state Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) database for the basis of its voter purge.
The purge, to date, has identifies hundreds of perfectly legal citizen voters for removal from the rolls.
The state of FL, in its response to the DOJ, appears not to be offering the full facts about their attempt to use the DHS database and, as it turns out, Republican Gov. Rick Scott should, by now, be very well acquainted with the perils of voter purges based on inaccurate information...as an apparent victim of one such purge himself...