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WUSF News Staff
Tue July 3, 2012
Professor says Florida's Voter Purge List is Flawed
Most Florida counties are not complying with the state’s plan to remove possible non-citizens from the voter rolls. One political researcher at the University of Florida says the state is working from a flawed list.
Daniel Smith has testified in front of Congress about Florida’s voting laws. He runs a popular blog about election laws and practices. He says election supervisors are justified in defying the state.
“So there are some real issues in terms of how reliable the data sent by the secretary of state’s office and what criteria was used to remove people," he says. "And so that’s were I decided to look at and dig a little deeper.”
He found that more than 98 percent of the names on the state’s list have not been removed from the voter rolls. That’s because local election supervisors in charge of removing these names found too many errors with the state’s list.
“We know that the secretary of state’s office has had difficult matching up names with any federal database that might identify non-citizens,” says Smith.
It’s become a tug of war between the federal government and the state.
The federal government has not handed over a database they call SAVE to the state. The state says that database would allow them to more accurately identify non-citizens. The Department of Homeland Security says Florida has not given them the information they need first. But Florida State Department spokesman Chris Cate says that’s not true.
“We’ve informed them that we have the information the DMV is able to access SAVE using the same information we would," says Cate." So, I don’t how Homeland Security can make the claim that we couldn’t get the same information our state partner is already using.”
As a result, the state and federal governments are now suing each other. So far, no court has halted the state’s efforts because election officials have effectively halted it themselves.