The Justice Department sent a letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner Thursday evening demanding the state cease purging its voting rolls because the process it is using has not been cleared under the Voting Rights Act. DOJ also said that Florida’s voter roll purge violated the National Voter Registration Act, which stipulates that voter roll maintenance should have ceased 90 days before an election, which given Florida’s August 14 primary, meant May 16. Five of Florida’s counties are subject to the Voting Rights Act, but the state never sought permission from either the Justice Department or a federal court to implement its voter roll maintenance program. Florida officials said they were trying to remove non-citizens from the voting rolls, but a flawed process led to several U.S. citizens being asked to prove their citizenship status or be kicked off the rolls.
Six members of Congress wrote Gov. Rick Scott earlier this week demanding that he stop purging the state’s voting rolls since the process improperly flagged numerous individuals who were eligible to vote. “To enable us to meet our responsibility to enforce federal law, please inform us by June 6 of the action that the State of Florida plans to take concerning the matters discussed in this letter,” Christian Herren, chief of the voting section of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, wrote in the letter obtained by TPM. “Specifically, please advise whether the State intends to cease the practice discussed above, so that the Department can determine what futher action, if any, is necessary.”