As the state readies to launch a new effort to scrub suspected noncitizens from the voter rolls, one key question remains: How many county supervisors of elections will join the effort after they essentially torpedoed a similar purge last year? Speaking to the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee on Monday, Secretary of State Ken Detzner said the process this time would be helped along because it uses the Department of Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements, or SAVE, database. SAVE is comprised of data from several federal agencies including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard, and state officials say it will be more reliable than last year’s attempt based largely on data from driver’s licenses. “SAVE has really been a game-changer when it comes to list maintenance,” Detzner said.
The secretary also assured lawmakers that the state Division of Elections will proceed deliberately as it seeks to weed out those who are registered to vote but are not eligible to do so.
“This will be a case-by-case management process,” he said. “We will not start until we are ready.”
The state, though, is in a delicate position. While it can identify individuals it thinks should be removed from the rolls and call those names to the attention of local supervisors, state officials are not empowered to purge voters. Only county supervisors — many of whom helped scuttle last year’s effort — can remove voters.