Nearly a month after the Supreme Court dismantled the Voting Rights Act by stripping it of section 4, Florida now plans to resume its voting purge practices. A Tampa District Court threw out a lawsuit against the state regarding voter purge practices last year; its advocates and supporters saw it as a greenlight to continue.
In order to halt voter purge, a hispanic civil rights group, along with two naturalized citizens, filed a lawsuit against the state of Florida in the height of the controversy last year. Because the U.S. Supreme Court struck down section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, the Florida lawsuit became moot. The Tampa-based court also removed a five-month hold on sending names of suspected non-citizens to election officials.
Now that Republican politicians and election officials have no tether, they are allowed to purge voters deemed as a threat to their political offices. What’s worse, is that after being warned by the U.S. Department of Justice about voter purge’s illegality in 2012, Florida conservatives shamelessly admitted that the state’s practices were designed to skew voter turnout.
Over 180,000 voters were targeted last year during Florida’s voter purge efforts. In a hastened scramble to shave Democratic voter turnout, the voter purge even listed eligible voters, mainly because they had “Latin-sounding names.” In Miami-Dade County alone, nearly 1,700 eligible voters were listed as ineligible. Those thought to be non-citizens were given 30 days to prove their citizenship. The purge list mainly targeted “Hispanic, Democratic, and independent-minded voters.”
The minority vote has been pivotal, especially in the last two major elections. Voter purge is a cheap tactic used by Republicans in order to skew that voting group, which is predominantly Democrat. Now that section 4 of the Voting Rights Act has been removed, six more states are following suit with voter purge, as well.