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Bill Nelson to Rick Scott: Your noncitizen "purge" is a "concern"

From Sen. Bill Nelson to Rick Scott:

Dear Governor Scott:

The Associated Press has written that former Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning said you initiated a hunt for non-U.S. citizens on state voter rolls and, according to the AP, Browning told you during a face-to-face meeting last year such was unnecessary, because people who register and falsely claim they are citizens can be charged with a crime. The AP further stated that you insisted he proceed.

Your list of 2,600 potential non-citizens reportedly included voters who were born in the U.S. and others who had become citizens. In the 2000 Florida election, at least 1,100 eligible voters were wrongly dropped from voting rolls in an attempt to purge a list of felons. Many of those who were dropped showed up to vote and were told they could not. And in a presidential election decided by 537 votes, that erroneous purge may have been a factor.

The public’s confidence in the right to vote is essential in a democracy. Attempts to purge the voter roll so soon after signing one of the nation’s most controversial voting laws raises concern, especially among young and minority voters.

I hope you will consider these thoughts and observations as you serve as chief executive of our state.


Bill Nelson