BRADENTON -- The U.S. Department of Justice is suing Florida Governor Rick Scott’s administration over the state’s attempts to purge ineligible voters. The announcement was made by the Attorney General's office on Monday, when Governor Scott sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for holding up his purge program.
Scott argues that the purge, which violates two federal voting rights laws is intended to make sure that only citizens are voting in elections. After hinting at a lawsuit during interviews earlier that day, he confirmed that Florida had sued the feds while giving an interview to Fox News host Neil Cavuto.
|Florida Governor Rick Scott
Florida’s lawsuit seeks access to Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) database so that Florida can check the citizenship status of registered voters and new applicants. Florida’s Department of State has been attempting to get access to the database since last year.
Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez noted in a letter responding to Scott that the state has been on notice for eight months that the SAVE database would only work if Florida provided more than the name and date of birth of potentially illegal voters, such as immigration documents.
“Florida has failed to either to provide the necessary information to DHS, or to confirm that the necessary information would be available for verification purposes under the SAVE Program,” Perez wrote. “As a result, the significant problems you are encountering in administering this new program are of your own creation.”
Perez also accused Scott of violating the National Voter Registration Act’s provision against purging voter rolls within 90 days of an election. With Florida’s primaries scheduled for August 14, the 90-day ban began on May 16.
Perez also claimed that the purge was not enforceable in five Florida counties singled out by the 1965 Voting Rights Act for their past history of racial discrimination at the polls. The law requires Justice Department pre-clearance for any new state election law to be applied in such a county, which Florida has not sought for this policy.
“Please immediately cease this unlawful act,” Perez wrote.