Fla. still waiting on OK to verify list of illegal voters

Department of Homeland Security expected to approve use of list


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Throughout the summer, there has been an attempt by Republicans to remove or purge ineligible voters from the voting roles. The idea is to make sure non-U.S. citizens are not voting.

State Republican Chairman Lenny Curry says it's the right thing to do.

"We know that there are non-citizens on our voter roles, and non-citizens should not be voting in our elections," Curry said.

Critics admit that sounds logical but say the process being used actually targets poor and minority voters who are eligible to vote.

Right now the state is waiting for a written agreement with the Department of Homeland Security to use information on file about non-citizens.

Florida Department of State spokesman Chris Cate says once that agreement is signed, the state will begin to verify those names it identified as potential non-citizens.

"We will send those to supervisors of elections, where they can begin to move them from the voter roles," Cate said.

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the state because of the way Florida is conducting the purge.

For now, the purge is on hold but could pick up right after the primary. Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland said he has not been notified of anyone in Duval County on the list.

"We are expecting to get a list from the Division of Elections that may contain the non-U.S. citizens, and this will be after they checked into Homeland Security," Holland said. "We are anticipating getting some of those names after the primary."

State officials have identified more than 180,000 people they see as non-citizen voters. The Secretary of State of Florida is still waiting to verify 2,600 names from that list to remove from the roles.

Cate said this is something others across the country are watching.

"The agreement we work out is going to be a model for the rest of the nation," he said. "Homeland Security wants to make sure it's done well."