Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes said Thursday that a little more than 50 of the 259 registered voters identified by the state as potential non-citizens have voted in the past.
At a press conference at the Voting Equipment Center in Lauderhill today Snipes provided updated information about her efforts to update the voter rolls in advance of the presidential election. Every election cycle counties remove voters who are dead, felons or inactive but the state has led a new controversial effort this year -- removing voters who aren’t citizens.
It’s illegal for non-citizens to vote, but Democrats have questioned why this “purge” inspired by Republican Gov. Rick Scott is happening just months before the presidential election.
Snipes sent letters to the 259 people identified on the state's list of potential noncitizens earlier this month at the direction of the state Division of Elections. So far, only about six have provided Snipes with documentation proving their citizenship -- including a Brooklyn-born World War II vet.
The majority of those on the list haven’t responded to Snipes -- some letters were returned undeliverable. Those on the list have 30 days to provide proof or face being removed from the list. Broward residents who receive such a letter can request a hearing with the supervisor’s office but so far no one has and Snipes has cleared a handful based on their documentation.
Snipes said her office has tried to contact those on the potential non-citizen list by phone and by spreading the word in communities where Haitians and Hispanics -- large immigrant groups in Broward -- live.
Sometimes residents register to vote without understanding what they are doing, she said.
As part of Florida’s motor-voter law, residents can register to vote when they get their drivers’ license.
“We won’t be rash in taking the individuals off the rolls...,” she said. “The most sacred right we all have is the right to vote.”
Snipes said Broward has removed “thousands” of felons and “over 9,000 deceased” registered voters.
The state Division of Elections initially identified roughly 180,000 potential noncitizens by searching a computer database from the state’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The drivers’ license list doesn’t automatically update when someone becomes a citizen.
The state whittled that list to more than 2,600 voters and forwarded those names to counties -- the largest contingent were Miami-Dade. Officials at the Dade supervisor of elections said earlier this week that 359 have provided proof that they are citizens, the county determined on its own that an additional 26 were citizens while 10 others either admitted they were ineligible or requested to be removed.
Home to more than 1 million voters, Broward has the largest contingent of Democratic voters in the state -- about 565,000.
Snipes said she is “very comfortable in the cleanliness of the rolls” in Broward.