Florida’s noncitizen voter purge efforts surged back to life Wednesday as Gov. Rick Scott’s elections office produced a new list of 198 potentially ineligible voters, including 39 who voted in past elections. The list was compiled from data maintained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that the state calls highly reliable, and is headed to county election supervisors, who must give anyone listed 30 days to respond. Any noncitizen who registered illegally could face criminal charges. The decision to revive the controversial program 41 days before Election Day in the nation’s biggest battleground state is stirring new controversy, even though some names on the new list were on a previous — and flawed — list of nearly 2,700 suspected noncitizens released in May. “We are doing absolutely the right thing,” Scott said recently in defending the state’s efforts to remove noncitizens from the rolls. “We believe in honest, fair elections.”
The new purge list, like the old one, is dominated by people from South Florida with Hispanic surnames. A total of 119 are listed as living in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. The new list includes 11 people from Tampa Bay: five from Pinellas, four from Pasco and two from Hillsborough.
Paul Hogg, 53, of Tampa appeared to have voted in the 2004 presidential election in Broward County, records show. “I was advised not to have any conversations about this,” Hogg said Wednesday. “It is being handled legally.” A Miami man claimed he has being wrongly targeted as a noncitizen for a second time. Yeral Arroliga, 25, who immigrated from Nicaragua in 1995 and has been a Florida voter since 2007, said he already sent proof of citizenship over the summer when he made the first purge list. He says he’s ready to do it again, after making the new list, but he’s not happy about it. “It sounds like you have Big Brother watching over you,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going on.”