Florida election supervisors, at their annual convention in Tampa this week, find themselves focusing once again on a familiar and troubling issue: the accuracy and reliability of the state voter registration database. It’s not a problem of their making, and that only adds to their frustration. As the elections officials convene, they are simultaneously seeking to verify the legal status of about 2,700 voters who were red-flagged by the state motor vehicle agency as non-U.S. citizens and thus ineligible to vote. Problem is, some people on that list can legally vote. One of the people on the list is Manoly Castro-Williamson, 48, of Wesley Chapel, a U.S. citizen and a registered Republican who has voted in every election in Florida since 2004. She was one of 13 potential noncitizen voters forwarded to Pasco County by state elections officials.
Pasco Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley said he finds it troubling that Castro-Williamson, known as a “super voter” for her commitment to casting a ballot, now is being forced to prove her citizenship status just four months after voting in the Republican presidential preference primary. Corley said she did, by faxing his office a copy of her Ohio birth certificate. But that was after she got an ominous-sounding letter from Corley that said: “You may be in violation of Florida Statutes by being a registered voter in the state of Florida,” and telling her she was entitled to a hearing to challenge an adverse decision.
While the latest scrubbing of Florida’s voter database is turning up some noncitizens who have voted, it also is disturbing to Corley that law-abiding people are being wrongly accused of breaking the law. “We are the ones in the trenches taking the heat from the voters for something we have no control over,” Corley said. “I’m a black-and-white kind of guy. This kind of a gray area really bothers me.”