-By Deborah Montesano
June 2, 2012- Now that the U.S. Department of Justice has ordered the state to cease purging its voter rolls, Florida elections supervisors agree. In April, the state gave a list of suspected ineligible voters to county officials, but the 67 county election supervisors found so many mistakes with it that the scrub was undo-able. “There are just too many variables with this entire process at this time for supervisors to continue,” said Vicki Davis, president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections.
On Friday, the association’s general counsel Ron Labasky, told the supervisors to stop processing the list. “I recommend that Supervisors of Elections cease any further action until the issues raised by the Department of Justice are resolved between the parties or by a Court,” Labasky wrote.
The list provided by Florida’s Secretary of State Ken Detzner contained 2,600 voters deemed to be ‘potential’ non-citizens. Supervisors were supposed to send letters to these people requiring them to show proof of citizenship within 30 days, or be purged from the rolls. Due to the many errors in the list, plus the demands of the Department of Justice, the supervisors will not be sending any more letters.
As for Detzner, his spokesman, Chris Cate, said, “The supervisors have the ultimate duty of making the determination of eligibility. We respect the process and we have confidence in their capability to determine if someone is an ineligible voter or not.” While that sounds promising, Detzner says that his response to the DOJ will assert his right to carry out his duties regarding accurate voter rolls—and he is attempting to shift the blame for his faulty list. He claims the Department of Homeland Security is the problem because they won’t provide him with their database of names.
Critics say that pointing the finger at other databases is a smokescreen. According to Damien Filer, political director of Progress Florida, “The fact is, [Governor] Rick Scott is carrying on a disgraceful GOP legacy of disenfranchising voters in Florida. And he’s doing it on purpose.”