Last year, even before Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) voter purge that initially targeted 180,000 people was pared down by a court settlement, all of the state’s county election supervisors — including 30 Republicans — refused to execute the purge, arguing the state’s method for removing potential non-citizens from the voter rolls was both inaccurate and illegal.
Scott went forward anyway, with a drastically smaller purge that included just 198 potential non-citizen voters. But even that effort turned up almost nothing at all. That didn’t stop Scott from reviving his commitment to root out alleged voter fraud, just as soon as the U.S. Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. A lawsuit challenging the purge as requiring federal pre-clearance by the Department of Justice was dismissed, because the VRA’s formula for designating those jurisdictions subject to federal review is no longer in place. Secretary of State Ken Detzner (R) immediately said the purge would resume.
In the wake of this latest announcement, one Republican county election supervisor is issuing a reminder that Scott’s attempts to purge alleged non-citizens are no more reliable than they were last year, and no less based on an illusory claim of voter fraud. Pinellas County Elections Supervisor Deborah Clark explained in an interview with Bay News 9:
REPORTER: The governor’s again starting on his voter purge … Are you comfortable that he’s got the procedures right now?
CLARK: No I’m not.
REPORTER: What’s the concern?
CLARK: My concern is that the supervisors of elections still do not have access to Homeland Security’s database to make that one final verification, confirmation of information the state has sent us. And in September, in writing the state told us they had access to the database and they were going to make sure each supervisor had access, and we’ve seen or heard nothing since.
REPORTER: You’ve been supervisor for how long?
CLARK: Since 2000.
REPORTER: And how many cases of fraud, is it a big problem?
CLARK: No it is not in Pinellas County.
REPORTER: Have you had any cases of fraud?
REPORTER: I mean that says a lot.
CLARK: And honestly, the state really does not have a good track record going back to as early as 2000 as far as the accuracy of voter lists they sent to supervisors. So I think you’ll find that supervisors are uncomfortable because we just don’t have any confidence in the information the state sends.
Clark’s county was one of many that improperly purged citizens from the voter rolls who were later reinstated after it became clear that Scott’s list of alleged “sure-fire non-citizens” was riddled with errors. Her county’s actual recent voter fraud track record of zero percent jibes with national statistics, which show that one is more likely to be struck by lightning than to have committed voter fraud.
Clark’s complaints are the same expressed by all the county elections supervisors last year, when they said the databases available to the state are not automatically updated, and frequently contain old information that improperly flags individuals as non-citizens. By Clark’s account, nothing has changed since last year’s botched effort, except that Gov. Scott no longer has Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act to restrain him.
(HT: Project Vote)