U.S. Department Of Justice Says Florida Voter Purge Violates Federal Law

Gov. Rick Scott (R)

Gov. Rick Scott (R)

As Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) continues his Ahab-like quest to purge voters from his state’s voter roles, the U.S. Department of Justice is again accusing Scott’s administration of illegal voter suppression.

The Miami Herald reports that a federal district court filing by the DOJ claims Scott’s purge required its prior permission — and did not have it:

The July 27 filing, known as a statement of interest, asserts that before Florida began scrubbing the rolls in search of non-citizens, it was required to submit the proposal to the federal government. Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, five “covered” Florida counties are subject to a process known as pre-clearance: Hillsborough, Collier, Hardee, Hendry and Monroe.

The feds say Florida never submitted the new “citizenship list maintenance practices” to them for approval, even though they did submit an unrelated change for review in 2011 — the use of Social Security numbers to verify that a voter had died.

In late June different federal judge refused to grant a DOJ request for a restraining order to halt the purge on the grounds that it violate the National Voter Registration Act — even though the purge clearly violates the National Voter Registration Act, which prohibits voter roll purges within 90 days of federal elections. That case remains ongoing.

The reason Congress enacted these laws — especially the Voting Rights Act rules governing areas with a history of voter suppression — was precisely to prevent what Scott is trying to do. His purge attempts disproportionately affect minority voters and are so error-riddled that dozens of Republican county elections supervisors have refused to continue them.