Justice Department Sues Florida Over Voter Purge

How did this guy ever get elected?

Today the U.S. Justice Department and Governor Rick Scott of Florida announced dueling lawsuits over the Florida voter purge. The Miami Sun-Sentinel:

Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday that the state is suing the Obama administration over its refusal to share a Homeland Security database that Scott says Florida needs to adequately clear its voting rolls of any non-citizens who wrongly registered to vote.

“We want to have fair, honest elections in our state, and so we’ve been put in the position that we have to sue to get it,” he told Fox News in an interview just prior to the Department of State announcing it had filed the suit.

But in a letter that seemed certain to intensify the battle between the Scott administration and Washington, the U.S. Department of Justice demanded that Florida halt efforts to purge its voters rolls – telling the state to “immediately cease this unlawful conduct” – and said it was suing the state.

“It appears that the State of Florida is unwilling to conform its behavior to the requirements of federal law,” wrote Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, adding that he had authorized “the initiation of an enforcement action against Florida in federal court.”

The Homeland Security list the Scott wants lists only people with green cards and naturalized citizens. The state has already admitted that the list is inappropriate for the purpose of identifying eligible voters. I suppose Scott wants it so he can make life a living hell for Florida immigrants.

Florida election supervisors have already told Scott that they won’t execute his plan, because it appears that he simply wants to get rid of eligible voters who are likely to vote Democratic.

The ACLU has also sued Florida to stop the illegal voter purge.

The ACLU of Florida says the state’s attempt to remove ineligible voters from the rolls violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was designed to protect minority groups from voter discrimination. Their claims mirror those made by the U.S. Department of Justice, which earlier this month ordered Florida to cease its controversial program.

“The illegal program to purge eligible voters uses inaccurate information to remove eligible citizens from the voter rolls,” said Howard Simon, Executive Director of ACLUFL, in a statement when the suit was filed Friday. “It seems that Governor Scott and his Secretary of State cannot speak without hiding what they mean in political spin. They mislead Floridians by calling their illegal list purge ‘protecting citizen’s voting rights.’ This is precisely why Congress has re-enacted, and why we continue to need, the Voting Rights Act – to prevent state officials from interfering with the constitutional rights of minorities. We now look to the courts to stop the Scott administration from assaulting democracy by denying American citizens the right to vote.”

The ACLUFL is joined by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCRUL) and the law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in the suit.

If Rick Scott doesn’t like being told what to based on Federal law, perhaps he should get together with Texas Governor Rick Perry and secede from the union.


4 Comments on “Justice Department Sues Florida Over Voter Purge”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Scott seems to be specifically targeting naturalized citizens. I guess that’s why he wants the list from Homeland Security.

  2. northwestrain says:

    What would life be like without the ACLU? Sometimes they do seem to champion the unpopular — but if the Governors and Governments can get away with stripping the civil rights of the unpopular — how long before our rights are flushed?

    • ecocatwoman says:

      Ummm, the rights of the 99% were “flushed” from the beginning of this nation. While Lincoln “freed the slaves” following the Civil War, African Americans had few rights as citizens until the Civil Rights Act was passed in the 60s. And women fought & won their right to vote in 1920, yet still today we still need “daddy’s permission” in many states to have a legal abortion. Seriously, those “God given rights” have always applied to White Men (who, after all, are the ones who were made in God’s image). The rest of us, with other than white skin and/or a penis, have had to fight & often die to obtain & keep those rights. Interestingly the “right” to fight & die for one’s country – whether Native American, African American, Latino, whether male or female – is the one right that has always been granted. And the right to avoid the fight (Cheney, GW Bush, the Romney Clan) has been limited to the whiter than white, 1% males. Ain’t it a Great Country, after all ? But, then I’m preaching to the choir. RANT OFF!

      • NW Luna says:

        Only white males who owned property were entitled to vote. That gradually changed after the early to mid-1800s, state by state.

        — From a quick re-scan of Howard Zinns’ A People’s History of the United States. Hardly a representational democracy.