Secretary of State Ken Detzner will take his pitch for a revived voter scrub on the road next month, but supervisors of elections and voting-rights advocates remain skeptical. Detzner’s office announced this week that he would meet with supervisors in five cities to get their input into another attempt to identify and remove non-citizens from the voting rolls. “Through transparency and the statutory due-process protection afforded to every voter, we can ensure the continued integrity of our voter rolls while protecting the voting rights of eligible voters from those who may cast an illegal vote,” Detzner said in a press release announcing the “Project Integrity Roundtable Tour” of five cities beginning Oct. 3. But despite the spin put on “Project Integrity” by Detzner’s office, his announcement immediately drew fire from Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley, who tweeted: “There is no greater ‘voter advocate’ or ‘voter roll integrity advocate’ than a Supervisor of Elections!”
Nearly all supervisors scrapped last year’s purge — the brainchild of Gov. Rick Scott — after they discovered that the majority of more than 2,600 voters, many of whom had Hispanic-sounding last names, flagged by Detzner’s office were eligible to vote. The problematic lists included the names of naturalized citizens and even some who were born in the U.S.
A coalition of voting groups representing minorities sued the state over the purge, but the lawsuit was dismissed after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling this summer that tossed out part of the federal Voting Rights Act.
Unlike last time, Detzner’s office is seeking supervisors’ input into the process. But initial reaction showed the supervisors remain dubious. Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles said he was contacted by Detzner’s office Tuesday and asked to provide space for a meeting, scheduled in Orlando on Oct. 7. “All the supervisors are going to be concerned about why we’re doing it now and what has changed since the last time,” Cowles said.