The U.S. Department of Justice is demanding that Hillsborough turn over voter-purge records, pulling the county into a growing legal fracas over Gov. Rick Scott’s push to clean out the state’s voter registry. The county received a subpoena Wednesday for documents dating to Jan. 1 relating to any efforts at identifying voters as potential noncitizens. The subpoena stems from a lawsuit filed June 12 in Tallahassee by the federal government against Florida and Secretary of State Ken Detzner over state efforts to scrub voter rolls. Hillsborough Elections Supervisor Earl Lennard said he would comply with the subpoena. Like supervisors across the state, Lennard halted efforts to purge voters when the tools to cross-reference citizenship and voter registration — a Department of Homeland Security database and motor vehicle records — proved unreliable, he said.
The subpoena landed on the same day the American Civil Liberties Union claimed that more than 17,000 former felons whose civil rights have been restored never received their notices of rights restoration. More than 13,000 of them aren’t registered and may not know they’re eligible to vote, the ACLU said. The subpoena for Hillsborough came just days after the Justice Department joined a lawsuit filed in Tampa by the ACLU and others seeking to halt the voter purge on behalf of two Hispanic voters and a Hispanic voter education group.
In that suit, as in the Tallahassee action, the federal government’s “statement of interest” maintains that Scott’s purge violates the Voting Rights Act. The act requires that five Florida counties who have histories of voter discrimination — Hillsborough, Collier, Hendry, Hardee and Monroe — must obtain “pre-clearance” for any changes in voting procedure.
Full Article: Feds seek voter-purge records | TBO.com.