The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is planning to sue the state of Florida for purging voters from its rolls in violation of federal law, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said in a letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner Monday. DOJ warned Florida last month that its efforts to purge individuals believed to be noncitizens from the voter rolls would violate federal law because the process had not been cleared by either the Justice Department or a federal court, and because the purge was taking place too close to Florida’s August primary. Perez wrote Monday that he “authorized the initiation of an enforcement action against Florida in federal court” because the state had “indicated its unwillingness to comply” with federal laws.
“One of Congress’s concerns in enacting the provisions of the [Voting Rights Act] and [National Voter Registration Act], and one of the Department’s concerns in enforcing federal law as enacted by Congress, is ensuring that state efforts to find and purge ineligible persons from voter registration lists do not endanger the ability of eligible U.S. citizens to register to vote and maintain their voter registration status,” Perez wrote. “The federal statutes that the Department has called to Florida’s attention here are longstanding requirements of which the State is certainly aware.”
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