Justice

Florida Supervisor of Elections: Gov. Scott’s Voter Purge Will Remove Eligible Voters From Rolls

According to the Broward County Supervisor of Elections, eligible voters will be removed from the voting rolls as a result of the massive voter purge ordered by Governor Rick Scott. “It will happen,” Mary Cooney, a spokeswoman for the Broward County Supervisor of Elections, told ThinkProgress.

Late last year, Governor Scott ordered his Secretary of State, Kurt Browning to “to identify and remove non-U.S. citizens from the voter rolls.” Browning could not get access to reliable citizenship data. So Scott urged election officials to identify non-U.S. citizens by comparing data from the state motor vehicle administration with the voting file.

That process produced a massive list of 182,000 names, which Browning considered unreliable. The Fair Elections Legal Network, which is challenging the purge, noted that database matching is “notoriously unreliable” and “data entry errors, similar-sounding names, and changing information can all produce false matches.” Further, some voters may have naturalized since their driver’s license information was collected.

Browning resigned in February. But Scott has pressed forward with his efforts to purge voters from the rolls based on the dubious list. Here’s the letter Maureen Russo, a U.S. citizen and registered voter in Florida for the last 40 years, received two weeks ago:

In Broward County 259 people recieved letters just like the one addressed to Maureen above, according to the Broward County Supervisor of Elections. So far only 7 (including Maureen) have responded to the ominous and legalistic letter. Five of the responses included proof of citizenship.

If the other 252 people don’t respond within 30 of recieving the letter — a deadline that is rapidly approaching — they will be summarily removed from the voting roles. Cooney, the Supervisor of Elections spokeswoman, says some of those who are purged under this “very new” process will “be eligible” but will have to be removed from the rolls anyway.

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and other Democratic members of the Florida Congressional delegation — as well as a coalition of voter protection groups — have called on Scott to “immediately suspend” the voting purge since the lists of ineligible voters has proven extremely unreliable.