Florida is one of a number of states to have recently imposed ill-considered restrictions on voting rights, as it interferes with efforts to register new voters and seeks to purge non-citizens from state voting rolls. State officials, acting at the behest of Gov. Rick Scott (R), have scoured driver’s license and other records to identify non-citizens and have forwarded a list of 2,600 supposedly ineligible voters to local elections officials for further action. Chris Cate, a Florida Division of Elections spokesman, asserted that the division has “a duty under both state and federal laws to ensure that Florida’s voter registration rolls are current and accurate.” But the state also has a duty to ensure that those legally entitled to vote are not unjustly prevented from doing so. The last thing the state needs is another election tainted by questions of fairness.
Mr. Scott’s move does not appear to be based on any showing of widespread voter fraud. It relies on potentially inaccurate databases to identify non-citizens; a resident whose driver’s license information indicates that he is not a citizen may have obtained citizenship and therefore be eligible to vote. Those whose eligibility is challenged are notified and entitled to submit proof of citizenship, but that is a cumbersome and potentially unfair process. A 91-year-old Brooklyn-born man who won a Bronze Star during World War II and had voted regularly for years received a letter from Broward County stating that it had “information from the State of Florida that you are not a United States citizen; however you are registered to vote.” Troublingly, a Miami Herald analysis of the to-be-purged list found it was dominated by Democrats, independents and Hispanics.
Full Article: Interfering with voting rights – The Washington Post.