During an appearance on Fox News Monday afternoon, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) announced that the state will sue the Department of Homeland Security to obtain access to a database that it believes will provide more accurate information on the citizenship status of Florida voters.
“The Florida’s Secretary of State office wil be filing a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security to give us that database,” Scott said. “We want to have fair, honest elections in our state and so we have been put in a position that we have to sue the federal government to get this information.” The move comes after Scott disregarded a request from the Department of Justice on Wednesday to abandon efforts to purge eligible voters.
Neil Cavuto, who conducted the interview, pressed Scott on why many of those who objected to the purge were Republican election supervisors. Cavuto also noted that other prominent Florida Republicans, notably Sen. Marco Rubio, were notably silent on the purge.
DHS has expressed skepticism at allowing Scott to use its database — called SAVE or “Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements” — in order to suppress the vote, telling the Orlando Sentinel last week that the data is incomplete and does not provide comprehensive information on all eligible voters:
On Thursday, a senior DHS official, who would speak only on background, said the agency was waiting for Florida and the U.S. Justice Department to settle their dispute on whether Florida’s purge violates federal voter-protection laws before allowing the state access the SAVE database. Only then would DHS consider access legally authorized, the official said.
“Obviously, removing folks from the voter rolls is something we take seriously,” said the official.
The DHS representative also cautioned that even if Florida could use SAVE, it would not paint a complete picture of who is a U.S. citizen — as the list deals largely with green-card holders and naturalized citizens, and is not a comprehensive list of all Americans who have the right to vote.
We will update the post as more information becomes available.