The Latest on Florida’s Illegal Voter Purge

How Far Will Rick Scott Go to Steal the Election?

ThinkProgress has been leading the coverage of Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) effort to disenfranchise tens of thousands of potentially eligible voters, many of whom happen to be Hispanic and/or Democrats. As we know from past elections in Florida, this could easily steal the election for Mitt Romney.

Here’s the latest on Florida Governor Rick Scott’s illegal voter purge.

  • Florida Sues the Federal Government In Order to Continue Its Voter Purge

Yesterday, Scott announced that the state would be suing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in order to gain access to a database to help it continue with its illegal purge.

DHS has expressed skepticism at allowing Scott to use its database — called SAVE or “Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements” — in order to suppress the vote, telling the Orlando Sentinel last week that the data is incomplete and does not provide comprehensive information on all eligible voters:

On Thursday, a senior DHS official, who would speak only on background, saidthe agency was waiting for Florida and the U.S. Justice Department to settle their dispute on whether Florida’s purge violates federal voter-protection laws before allowing the state access the SAVE database. Only then would DHS consider access legally authorized, the official said.

“Obviously, removing folks from the voter rolls is something we take seriously,” said the official.

The DHS representative also cautioned that even if Florida could use SAVE, it would not paint a complete picture of who is a U.S. citizen — as the list deals largely with green-card holders and naturalized citizens, and is not a comprehensive list of all Americans who have the right to vote.

  • The Department of Justice Sues Florida to Stop Its ‘Unlawful Conduct’

Not long after Florida announced its lawsuit yesterday, the Department of Justice in turn announced that Florida’s refusal to stop its illegal voter purge left DOJ no choice but to file a lawsuit against the state in federal court.

In a letter sent to the Florida Secretary of State last evening, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez argued that Florida is violating the National Voter Registration Act and the Voting Rights Act. “Please immediately cease this unlawful conduct,” Perez wrote. The full text of the letter is available HERE.

Just hours ago, DOJ filed its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. You can read the complaint HERE.

  • Florida Election Supervisors Continue to Balk At Scott’s Illegal Voter Purge

Even before the legal battle over Scott’s plan heated up this week, all of Florida’s election supervisors had halted any participation in the purge. Some counties have even already reinstated voters they’d already purged.

Even Republican election supervisors are having none of it. Republican Ann McFall, county supervisor of elections for Volusia County, told ThinkProgress that Scott’s lawsuit against the federal government does not have her support and she will not resume purging voters before the elections, regardless of the suit’s outcome:

No I do not support the lawsuit. It is [about] helping the Governor and Secretary of State improve their image. I am not doing any further voter purge until after Nov 2012.

  • Mitt Romney Won’t Say Where He Stands

As is often the case on controversial issues, Mitt Romney has thus far refused to take a stand on an issue that could be of direct benefit to him. Ditto for Florida Senator and potential vice-presidential nominee Marco Rubio.

Earlier today, Romney appeared at an event in Orlando and MoveOn’s “99 Percent Airlines” took to the skies above the event to call out the purge:

Unlike Romney himself, top Romney fundraiser and surrogate Donald Trump is not one to shy away from controversy and this afternoon he tweeted his support for Scott’s plan to disenfranchise untold numbers of eligible voters.

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