Of course, you wouldn’t know that reading the completely misleading headline in the “AP NewsBreak” story rushed to publication by theWashington Post and numerous other outlets. The real headline should be, “Florida Secretary of State Admits Identifying “Potential Noncitizens with ‘Outdated’ Data.” The pending agreement with the Department of Homeland Security is hardly a “victory” for the GOP, as the Washington Post’s headline screams. It is true that the Department of Homeland Security reached a pending agreement with the Florida Department of State to allow the Division of Elections to access the federal SAVE database — Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements — so as to more accurately identify “potential noncitizens” who might be incorrectly registered to vote in Florida. (Lord knows, the Florida Secretary of State needs help in its endeavors, as I’ve recently documented elsewhere, extensively.
It is important to disassemble the AP’s misleading story regarding the Florida Secretary of State’s “victory.” First, the pending agreement with Homeland Security prohibits the state of Florida from using only the name and birth date of registered voters when requesting SAVE data to verify whether registered voters are noncitizens. Second, the Division of Elections may only access the SAVE database if it provides a “unique identifier” — such as an “alien number” or a certificate number on a Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship — for those who it suspects may be ineligible to be registered to vote. But the Secretary of State does not (rightly) collect such information on voter registration forms, and the driver’s license records that the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has provided to the Division of Elections are often inaccurate or outdated, leading to numerous false-positives when they are matched with the voter rolls.