States using a federal immigration database to purge noncitizens from voter lists are starting to get results, which so far include few illegal voters. In Florida, which was first to gain access to the database after fighting the federal government in court, an initial run of roughly 2,600 names has turned up “several” violators, according to a spokesman for Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner. “We are seeing that there are definitely noncitizens on the voter rolls, but we’re still very early in this review process,” says Chris Cate. A much larger list of suspected noncitizens soon will be fed through the database, Cate says. The list will be an updated version culled from cross-checking voter rolls and driver’s license data, a method that produced about 180,000 names last year. Colorado, which along with Florida was initially denied access to the database, says that an automated check of more than 1,400 names has flagged 177 people as possible noncitizens. Colorado has asked the Department of Homeland Security, which maintains the database, to assign a person to verify their status. “For the moment, we have no confirmed noncitizens, but I would expect that most of those people would come back as noncitizens,” says Andrew Cole, a spokesman for Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler.
Colorado also sent letters questioning the citizenship of more than 3,800 registered voters. Cole says 482 people have responded with proof of citizenship, and letters to about 1,000 others were returned undelivered due to wrong addresses. Florida obtained access to the database nearly a month ago, and Colorado starting using it two weeks ago. Voter purges are among several election-related efforts that Republican-led states and the Obama administration continue to dispute in courtrooms across the nation.