TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The state of Florida wants to keep checking the voter database for non-citizens, even though the U.S. Department of Justice has said the process is illegal within 90 days of an election.
Voting rights advocates say the problem is some legitimate voters will ignore the letter questioning their registration, and when they don't respond, will be removed from the rolls and end up disenfranchised.
Arguing the purge is just normal maintenance, which is allowed, state lawyers plan to challenge the a federal judge's injunction ordering the state to stop purging its voter rolls.
"There's no perfect time to do any of these things," Gov Rick Scott said. "We just want fair elections. That's what all of us want."
The state says it has been trying to get federal approval for the purge and the use of a federal database since last September. A trail of emails show that conference calls to were cancelled by both sides.
As early as a month after first asking to use the database, the state was told it would need an alien database registration number for the computer to make the match. The catch-22 is that the state doesn't collect that number because it doesn't register non-citizens.
What is clear is that the state is not giving up, even though initial matches of voters to the state's suspect list have gone overwhelmingly to the voter who was a citizen and properly registered.
The dispute comes as candidates began lining up to get their names of the ballot this year. Others mailed their paperwork, detailing the area they want to represent. The unanswered question, though, is if everyone currently registered to vote will be able to cast a ballot for them.
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