Florida Telling Hundreds of Eligible Citizens that They are Ineligible to Vote

Judd Legum
Think Progress / News Report
Published: Monday 28 May 2012
“1638 people in Miami-Dade County were flagged by the state as “non-citizens” and sent letters informing them that they were ineligible to vote.”
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Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) has ordered the state to purge all “non-citizens” from the voting rolls prior to November’s election. But that list compiled by the Scott administration is so riddled with errors that, in Miami-Dade County alone, hundreds of U.S. citizens are being told they are ineligible to vote, Think Progress has learned exclusively.

According to data from the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections obtained by Think Progress:

- 1638 people in Miami-Dade County were flagged by the state as “non-citizens” and sent letters informing them that they were ineligible to vote.

- Of that group, 359 people have subsequently provided the county with proof of citizenship.

- Another 26 people were identified as U.S. citizens directly by the county.

- The bulk of the remaining 1200 people have simply not responded yet to a letter sent to them by the Supervisor of Elections.

You can see a similar letter sent to alleged “non-citizens” by the Broward County Supervisor of Elections HERE. (“The Supervisor of Elections… has received information that you are not a citizen of the United States.”) If recipients of the letter do not respond within 30 days — a deadline that is mere days away — they will be summarily removed from the voting rolls. The voters purged from the list, election officials tell Think Progress, will inevitably include fully eligible Florida voters.

In short, an excess of 20 percent of the voters flagged as “non-citizens” in Miami-Dade are, in fact, citizens. And the actual number may be much higher.

An analysis of the state-wide list by the Miami Herald found that “Hispanic, Democratic and independent-minded voters are the most likely to be targeted” as ineligible by the list. Conversely, “whites and Republicans are disproportionately the least-likely to face the threat of removal.”

Late last year, Scott ordered his Secretary of State, Kurt Browning, to “to identify and remove non-U.S. citizens from the voter rolls.” Browning could not access to reliable citizenship data. So election officials attempted to identify non-U.S. citizens by comparing data from the state motor vehicle administration with the voting file. That process produced a massive list of 182,000 names, which Browning considered unreliable and refused to release. Browning resigned in February and Scott pressed forward with the purge.

The Fair Elections Legal Network, which is challenging the purge, noted that database matching is “notoriously unreliable” and “data entry errors, similar-sounding names, and changing information can all produce false matches.” Further, some voters may have naturalized since their license information was collected.

For example, Juan Artabe, a resident of Miami-Dade, was flagged as a “non-citizen” based on motor vehicle records from 2006. He became a citizen in 2008 but no one notified the state. He was able to retain his ability to vote only by sending his citizenship papers to the Supervisor of Elections.

The situation in Miami-Dade is also apparent in elsewhere in Florida. According to a local reports in smaller Polk County of the 21 voters flagged by the state “nine appear to be citizens, leaving 12 as questionable.”

The purge of fully eligible voters from the voting rolls by Scott could be enough to tip the balance in Florida and, perhaps, the presidential election. In 2000, the final (disputed) margin was just 537 votes.



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13 comments on "Florida Telling Hundreds of Eligible Citizens that They are Ineligible to Vote"

oldhat

May 29, 2012 3:28pm

dead,non citizens all should be allowed to vote

mamabashums

May 29, 2012 10:19am

It seems that taxation without representation is the bottom line here so when does the revolution start so I can take historic photos. It would take a god to make things right now I ask god and every day americans when will we have enough of the bullshit!!!

Btrwy

May 29, 2012 9:03am

We have a sickness in America. Didn't nazi Germany start rather innocently?

Scott Ashley

May 29, 2012 8:20am

Politics at it worst. Sounds like a another Carl Rove brainstorm. He seems gay to me, has anyone else noticed that. That would be ok with me but I wonder how his associates would would react. If , of course, he is gay.

Illini66

May 28, 2012 4:19pm

If, to win, you have to try to stop people from voting, your ideas suck.

Kathy Grace

May 28, 2012 4:11pm

Sounds like 2000 all over again when Florida's SOS Katherine Harris decided to purge voters who had a name similar to that of a convicted felon. They stole the election from Al Gore in 2,000. Now they want to purge voters if their names don't sound "American enough." Are we going to let Florida and the Republicans steal the election from Obama in 2012? This should be front page news!

jeltez42

May 28, 2012 4:07pm

I am not sure why there is all this fuss about purging voter rolls, voter ID, and the like. In the 30 years that I have been legal to vote, each and every election has been rigged from the start. Sure, lets put a very senior citizen puppet on the throne. Then we get Bush1, Clinton, and Bush2 All party hacks, all paid their dues to get annointed. Then there's Obama. I still have not quite figured that out as he does not really fit the Soviet style of picking potential presidential puppets. But still, the strings are there.

Our selection process is a joke, the delegate primary system is a joke, and the Electorial College is a joke. We the People do not elect our Of the People, By the People, For the people government. We abdicted that responsibility to the ruling elite and the Private Political Corporation.

dwdallam

May 28, 2012 2:50pm

"An analysis of the state-wide list by the Miami Herald found that “Hispanic, Democratic and independent-minded voters are the most likely to be targeted” as ineligible by the list. Conversely, “whites and Republicans are disproportionately the least-likely to face the threat of removal.” "

Well, that's not news, is it? Democrat politicians have always been loath to pull these dirty tricks, but I've always thought turn about is fair play. If you don't want to be the focus of a bully, sometimes you need to smack him right in the face.

cazzbaa

May 28, 2012 1:12pm

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cazzbaa

May 28, 2012 1:04pm

I am going to be 52 in October and have always maintained my voter status as a registered voter, I am not even sure I know what it means to be purged from the "voter rolls?" What is required above and beyond a birth certificate and a photo ID to be re-entered to the voter roll's and registered to vote as opposed to just registering?? What is so horrible about being off the the voter rolls beyond being on them and NOT being registered?? In either case one cannot vote.

Illini66

May 28, 2012 4:18pm

For one thing, no one expects to run into a problem when they vote. As an election judge, I advise everyone to take advantage of early voting. That way, if you encounter an unexpected problem with your registration you have time--as much as a couple of weeks--to get the matter corrected. You'll still get to vote. If you wait until election day, you may not be able to get problems corrected that day or, if you are able to vote "provisionally" you have a couple of days to get matters resolved so the ballot you cast can be removed from the "provisional" list and counted.

Ronni85

May 28, 2012 12:41pm

Perhaps its time for the Democratic governors of other states to purge their voter registration rolls! Turn about . . . . . . . .

Skeptic

May 28, 2012 11:38am

I believe that Jeb Bush and his Secretary of State, the corrupt Kathy Harris, had purged about 50,000 voters in 2000, swinging the election close enough so Dubya could steal it.

Most of the voters eliminated were minorities. They were scrubbed from the rolls because someone with a similar name, for instance, had been convicted of a felony in Texas.

In one county, the registrar of voters was astonished to find her own name on the list of those to be denied votes. Greg Palast described the "voter caging" in detail.

Brad Schlozman's dimwitted assistant Monica Goodling, pejuriously testifying in Congress about the scam, claimed it was innocent, rather than a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise Democrats.