Earlier this year, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) began a massive voter purge that initially targeted as many as 180,000 individuals to be removed from the state’s voter rolls. It quickly emerged, however, that Scott’s lists were deeply flawed — in one case, a 91 year-old decorated World War II veteran received a purge letter falsely informing him that “you are not a U.S. Citizen” — and the purge was eventually halted after Florida’s county elections officials, including 30 Republicans, rebelled against the purge.
Throughout this ordeal, which also included a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit challenging the purge and a pledge by a top Scott Administration official to restart the purge, Scott insisted this purge was necessary to prevent non-citizen voters from changing the result of the 2012 election.
Now, Scott has begun a second voter purge, albeit under greater scrutiny after the debacle that was his first attempt to prevent Floridians from voting. Despite Scott’s previous claims that non-citizen voting is a major problem worthy of a massive voter purge, his own data now undermines this claim. After comparing a state database of drivers licenses with a federal database of immigration records, Rick Scott’s Florida barely uncovered any potential non-citizen voters:
In total, Scott’s quest for non-citizen voters flagged only 198 names of registered voters who may not be U.S. citizens — and this is in a state where over 8 million people voted in the last presidential election. Of these 198 possible non-citizens, only 39 have actually ever voted. If any of the 198 names identified by Scott’s new purge turn out to be non-citizens — itself an uncertain proposition — the most likely explanation for why many of them became registered to vote is that they accidentally registered while filling out paperwork to receive a driver’s license, not that the alleged non-citizens intentionally tried to register illegally.