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Politics / Issues

It's Not A Purge, Says Republican Party of Florida Chairman

lenny curry_0.jpg

Call it a cleansing.

Call it a crackdown - an effort to root out fraud.

Just don't call the removal of suspected ineligible voters from the state's voter rolls a purge. Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry doesn't like that word.

"Noncitizens should not be voting,'' said Curry. "Everyone agrees on that point.''

The problem with the state's effort to remove ineligible voters before the November election is that it is error prone.

Several months ago, 2,700 names in the state's driver license database were flagged and sent to county elections supervisors for further review.

Most of the people on the list are minorities, they're not registered as Republicans, and at least some of them are eligible to vote.

"Is one noncitizen voting okay?'' asked Curry.

He said Democrats wonder why state leaders are spending time pursuing the fraudsters when they make up such a small number of the state's 11-million registered voters.

"My question back to them is 'What's too much?' '' Curry said.

Democrats are also against shortening the early voting period.

The state's election law calls for 96 hours of early voting over eight days. Democrats want those hours parceled out over two weeks - the way it used to be.

A court ruled that cutting back on early voting days could be discriminatory against minorities.

Curry noted that eight days worked out fine for voters last January.

"We had record turnout  in our primary this year compared to '08,'' he said.

That record turnout came at a price, though. Florida's primary was held more than a month earlier than allowed by the national parties.

The move cost Florida half of its delegates at the Republican National Convention. Next time, it could cost them a lot more.

Florida is an important swing state. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told the Florida delegation, "There are no models that have a Republican winning without Florida.''

Might state leaders pursue making Florida an early primary state?

"I stand by the idea that we should be an early state based on the size and diversity of our state,'' Curry said. "This is about making sure that Floridians have a voice in who the nominee is.''