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DOJ will sue Florida, says it created its own problems with noncitizen voter purge

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas E. Perez said the Department of Justice will sue Florida over its noncitizen voter purge, which he called unlawful.

“Please immediately cease this unlawful conduct,” Perez wrote. “Because the State has indicated its unwillingness to comply with these requirements, I have authorized the initiation of an enforcement action against Florida in federal court.”

Perez responded to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner’s request last week that the DOJ explain why it’s not misreading federal law and that it explain why the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has refused Florida access to an immigration database that would help with the purge.

Said Perez: The database wouldn’t help. And Florida messed up the purge all by itself.

“In short, your claim that the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security have worked in concert to deny Florida access to the SAVE Program is simply wrong,” Perez wrote. “The significant problems you are encountering in administering this new program are of your own creation.”

Download 2012-06-11 ltr-1 Some excerpts:

“As one would expect with a new program that has not previously been tested against real-world information, your program has critical imperfections, which lead to errors that harm and confuse eligible voters. Especially where the program is based on information collected sometimes years ago from driver’s license applications, the information is often going to be outdated, as a number of persons will subsequently have become citizens and lawfully registered to vote. Your data appear to be faulty in other ways that have resulted in native-born citizens, including a decorated World War II combat veteran, being sent letters demanding that they affirmatively prove their citizenship. We are aware that one county election supervisor who reviewed a state-provided list of over one thousand potentially ineligible voters determined that the list had a significant error rate, and that she advised you that further use of the list would ‘potentially disenfranchise eligible voters based on an inaccurate list.’”…

“This new program is therefore legally unenforceable in the five covered counties in Florida…”

“We are concerned about the inaccuracies in your letter regarding your request to access this program…”

“The Save Program relies on DHS records, which do not include a comprehensive and definitive listing of U.S. citizens, and does not include, for example, those born in the United States. We understand that, what the Save Program does provide is a means for governmental units, in appropriate circumstances and subject to the lawful conditions of that program, to verify documentation regarding naturalized U.S. citizens; U.S. citizens born abroad who derived citizenship from U.S. citizen parents and who have acquired certificates of citizenship; and the immigration status of certain categories of non-citizens."

"The Save Program can verify these individuals only if unique identifiers, such as alien registration numbers or certificate numbers found on immigration-related documents (such as a Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship) are provided. We understand that to ensure accurate verification of current status, and as a general requirement applied to all users of the program, the SAVE Program does not allow verification based on name and/or date of birth alone. We further understand that, as a general requirement applied to all users of the program, SAVE also requires users to submit copies of the immigration-related document if needed to complete the verification process.”

“To our understanding, the Florida Department of State admitted to DHS nearly eight months ago that the Division of Elections does not collect any of the immigration-related numeric identifiers or documentation that DHS has advised would be necessary to participate in the SAVE Program…”

“One of Congress’s concerns in enacting the protections of the VRA and the NVRA, and one of the Department’s concerns in enforcing federal law as enacted by Congress, is ensuring that state efforts to find and purge ineligible persons from voter registration lists do not endanger the ability of eligible U.S. citizens to register to vote and maintain their voter registration status.”


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Cindy Graves

This is absurd! Are we to believe that after all we have gone through in the last years since 9-11, all the money that has been spent on "security" not only are we still living with unsecured borders but nobody in Washington even knows if people who are registered to vote are actually citizens?

Well DOJ, if non-citizens have registered to vote perhaps YOU should start there with identifying them and help the state of Florida conduct lawful elections!

I think it is offensive but a sad fact of our lives to be almost strip searched at the airport to prove I am not a crazy terrorist and Americans comply with that requirement daily. If asked to prove my citizenship to clean up these roles I WILL HAPPILY COMPLY and be honored to do so! The right to vote is sacred and ONLY for US Citizens!

Kathryn Harlan

I am not about to stand in line to vote for a President I once helped elect who will not assist in making sure my vote is not diluted by any illegal voter.. My vote is sacred and I expect the federal government should do everything to ensure this important trust.. This may be politics, but at the end of the day this is MY VOTE AND I WANT A CLEAN ELECTION!!If this election is not about a clean election with only citizens voting then I will sit home!!

Orlando D. Santana

To sit at home and not vote is what this Administration wants, they will empty-out all graves to fulfill the Democratic candidate be re-elected and guess what, those ilegal voters are being counted-on to provide his re-election. This Administration is totally a well oiled fraud machine and to think they support other countries to revolt against their current governments is totally inmoral and absurd. Americans have received what they voted for in 2008, surely hope they get it right in 2013.


Hilarious how everyone has to see EVERYTHING thru a partisan lens.

And we wonder why our country is so screwed up.


Cindy - there isn't a single case anywhere in the nation of people pretending to be eligible voters to participate in an election. The "need" to clear up voter rolls was fabricated by the Republican Party in an effort dissuade recently naturalized citizens from participating in our democratic franchise.

Orlando - Democrats always do better when more people vote. And the group that are the target of the purge tend to vote Democrat. So your comments about the current administration wanting people to sit at home and not vote don't make any sense.


It will be absolutely absurd for DOJ to sue back--that's why ordinary Americans despise lawyers--in order to try to get us regular folks, via the State of Florida, who have a legitimate claim that our votes should not be diluted by illegales who are allowed to vote.

If DOJ brings the lawsuit, which federal court do they get to pick to bring it in?

I guarantee you, if they are forced to have the federal court deal with the question down here in Florida, DOJ will lose.

There is simply no excuse for the feds to allow illegales to vote while the feds have a more current database that would allow Florida to clarify and improve its list of registered voters who might be illegales.

Any federal judge outside of New York and California would recognize the utter stupidity of DOJ's position immediately. In fact, the AG might actually get held in contempt by many federal judges for his arrogant disregard for federal law.


Folks, reread the article with the intent of trying to understand it rather than looking for points to get angry about. Legal fixes require following the law. The Homeland Security database does not have what the state Division of Elections needs to verify voter eligibility. It wasn't designed to do that. If the state would have completed the purge a month ago the DOJ would not have stepped in. The Florida Secretary of State should know the law and follow it.

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