Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner’s mea culpa tour to tout the state’s revamped noncitizen voter purge led to a tense exchange Wednesday with an election supervisor miffed about the state’s botched efforts last year. Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher peppered Detzner and his staff with questions about the process and the accuracy of the data to be used in the purge. “Where does that data come from, how often is it updated: every 10 years or every 10 minutes? … I have a lot of concern that the people we got the database from are saying this is not comprehensive and definitive,” Bucher said during a meeting at Broward County’s Voting Equipment Center in Lauderhill. Bucher’s questions revolved around the federal SAVE database that the state will use this time to search for non-citizen voters. Detzner explained that state agencies currently use SAVE data to verify that Floridians are eligible for millions of dollars in entitlements. “This is the best database we have to deal with,” he said. “This is important to get it right…It can be done and it will be done correctly.” But Bucher wasn’t satisfied, nor were voting activists who egged her on at times in the audience. A Democrat elected to a nonpartisan office, Bucher continued to ask multiple questions.
Detzner, appointed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott, tried to cut her off: “you are interrupting and going to take time away from public questions.”
Detzner refused to provide any timeline for sending new names of potential non-citizens to county supervisors. After the meeting while talking with reporters, he would not provide a ballpark timeline including whether he plans this year to start sending supervisors the names of potential noncitizens.
When asked when the state would launch a pilot he said “I wouldn’t give you a date honestly.”
But before the state launches the next round, Detzner said county supervisors who want access to SAVE data must sign an agreement through the Division of Elections and get trained on how to use the database and undergo a background check.