Florida Gov. Rick Scott often says that no actual citizens have been removed from the voter rolls in his program to make sure noncitizens don’t have the chance to cast ballots. “Not one person has been taken off the voter rolls that was a resident, a U.S. citizen who has the right to vote,” Scott, a Republican, said Tuesday in Miami. But that might not be the case. In two counties — Collier and Lee — at least nine people have been removed from the voter rolls under Scott’s program, and elections officials have no solid proof that those people are noncitizens. More could be purged soon. It’s that lack of certainty that concerns Democrats, liberals and voting-rights groups, who have sued the state to stop the program. On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice also filed suit.
Critics say they worry that the program will spook legitimate voters who are immigrants. “This affects the immigrant community and the rumor mill is churning,” said Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, a Miami lawyer representing the Advancement Project and a coalition of other liberal-leaning groups opposed to the program. “People are in fear,” she said. “This is complicated and threatening.” But Scott said he’s trying to make sure ineligible voters aren’t fraudulently casting ballots and “diluting” lawful vote.