Finally: Florida Gains Access to DHS Database

Katie Pavlich

7/16/2012 7:54:00 AM - Katie Pavlich

Although the battle over Florida's attempt to purge ineligible voters, including illegal immigrants, dead people and felons, from the voter rolls is far from over, the state has finally gained access to the Homeland Security citizen database after months of fighting the feds over the issue in court. The Department of Justice has repeatedly warned Florida Governor Rick Scott not to make an attempt to purge the rolls.

The agreement, made in a letter to Florida Gov. Rick Scott's administration that was obtained by The Associated Press, grants the state access to a list of resident noncitizens maintained by the Homeland Security Department. The Obama administration had denied Florida's request for months but relented after a judge ruled in the state's favor in a related voter-purge matter.

After a judge recently ruled against federal efforts to stop Florida's aggressive voter-list review, Homeland Security agreed to work on details for how the state can access the federal SAVE database — Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements — to challenge registered voters suspected of being noncitizens.

Scott, whose administration had sued Homeland Security for access to the SAVE list, said the agreement "marks a significant victory for Florida and for the integrity of our election system."

"Access to the SAVE database will ensure that noncitizens do not vote in future Florida elections," Scott said in a statement Saturday.