Despite multiple failed attempts, the state of Florida is preparing a new effort to purge voters. Though elections supervisors have stated that voter fraud is not a big problem, and have blocked past attempts at a voter purge, Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Secretary of State Ken Detzner promise that this time will be different.
Earlier this month, Detzner admitted that last year’s attempted voter purge was “fundamentally flawed.” He told the Miami Herald that the effort “could have” and “should have been better.” The apology was part of a marketing campaign to residents and election supervisors to persuade them that the next attempted voter purge will actually be accurate in its removal of non-citizens from the polls.
Scott and Detzner say the voter purge will be better this time because they plan to compare registered voters with information in the Florida driver’s license database as well as the Department of Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) database.
At a press conference in South Florida several audience members submitted questions to Detzner, asking why Scott’s administration is persisting in their efforts to purge voters from the rolls, according to the Huffington Post.
“There are more shark attacks each year in Florida than voter fraud cases,” Don Isaacson wrote. “Why is the Florida government wasting my tax money on a non-existent problem? How much money is wasted on the purge process?”
Last May, Gov. Scott engaged in a massive effort to purge over 180,000 names from the voter rolls before the November 2012 elections. Election supervisors, congress members, and constituents complained of incorrectly-identified names appearing on the purge list in error. All of the Florida county election supervisors, including 30 Republicans, refused to execute the voter purge.
After the Supreme Court dismantled the Voting Rights Act, Scott’s administration tried once more to carry out a voter purge. The list of ineligible voters was whittled down from tens of thousands to only 198, yet with all the doubts as to the accuracy of the list, the attempt once again failed.
Across the country, conservative lawmakers have been attempting to alienate voters and deny constituents the right to vote under the guise of a purported “integrity” campaign to combat voter fraud, an issue that, on a large scale, is virtually non-existent today, according to Forbes.
Many of the tactics that have been implemented primarily target minority and youth voters, two demographics more likely to vote for Democratic candidates. Last month in Virginia, the GOP-controlled Board of Elections purged nearly 40,000 names from the voter rolls, claiming the residents were registered in other states or otherwise ineligible to vote.
The board claimed it used databases to identify ineligible voters; however, election supervisors and officials in the state said the list was full of errors. Election administrators found hundreds of eligible voters among the names of those who were removed from the rolls, according to The Washington Post.
The Democratic Party of Virginia filed suit in a federal court over the board’s plans to purge thousands of voters before the state’s gubernatorial election this month. But before a judge could review the injunction, the board eliminated 38,970 names from the rolls.
At a meeting of the Florida Senate Ethics Committee Meeting on Monday, Secretary Detzner and director of the Division of Elections, Maria Matthews, “dodged questions” about whether any of the state’s election supervisors had agreed to participate in the newest attempt at a voter purge, Sunshine State News reports.
Instead, the officials only stressed that none of the election supervisors had yet refused to participate. Matthews said she doesn’t know why “any county would not wish to participate.”