For months, Florida Governor Rick Scott and his Elections Division have been attempting to purge non-citizen voters from the rolls. They have been unsuccessful in persuading Homeland Security to turn over their database code-named SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements). This is the most reliable list of individuals who are not entitled to vote in Florida based on their lack of citizenship. Florida’s request of Homeland Security is well within their legal right.
As requests continue to be forwarded to Homeland Security for the use of their database, elections officials and local Supervisors of Elections have been utilizing Florida’s Motor Voter registration list (generated from those who register when getting their driver’s license) to identify potential non-citizen voting.
This is where the controversy begins.
Florida, South Carolina and Texas recently passed legislation aimed at using the Federal Motor Voter registration as one means of identifying non-citizens who should not be on the rolls. A similar law passed in Virginia and Department of Justice (DOJ) scrutiny may arrive there next.
On May 31, the DOJ ordered Florida state election officials to stop any effort to seek and remove non-citizens based on the Motor Voter list. They assert that the Division of Elections must first obtain clearance from their department to carry out a voter purge. As support for this demand, they cite a special provision of the Voting Rights Act which dates back to 1965 (47 years ago) and was triggered by racial discrimination. More recently, they point to a prohibition in the Federal Motor Voter Law of purging the roll within 90 days before an election.
This order is unacceptable to Governor Rick Scott and he is standing his ground in this showdown with President Barack Obama’s Justice Department and his enforcer Attorney General Eric Holder. The Governor is emboldened more than ever to ensure that non-citizens do not cast ballots in the upcoming elections.
But why would the Justice Department have a lack of interest in prohibiting non-citizens from voting? Some have speculated that non-citizens on the rolls are largely minorities who would tend to vote Democratic. Could politics be playing a role here?