Let the purge begin again.
Gov. Rick Scott promised that he would once again hunt for non-citizens on state voter rolls, and on Wednesday afternoon, his top elections officials released public details about taking the first steps toward another pruning effort.
Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced in a statement that he would begin a roundtable discussion with the state’s 67 supervisor of elections in a series of five public meetings across the state in October. (Sorry Tampa Bay and Miami-Dade, the closest meetings are in Sarasota and Ft. Lauderdale.)
Called “Project Integrity”, the meetings will be an opportunity for Detzner to hear from supervisors about how to conduct another purge.
“I am embarking on the Project Integrity roundtable tour to collaborate with Supervisors to protect the integrity of our voter rolls,” Detzner said in the statement.
He’s creating a new list of suspected noncitizen voters by cross-checking state voter data with a federal database managed by the Department of Homeland Security.
Detzner’s director of elections, Maria Matthews, sent a letter to election supervisors on Aug. 2, promising “responsible measures that ensure due process and the integrity of Florida’s voter rolls” and vowing to include supervisors “in the planning and decision-making.”
Similar searches a year ago were rife with errors, found few ineligible voters and led to lawsuits by advocacy groups that said it disproportionately targeted Hispanics, Haitians and other minority groups.
The state’s list of suspected non-U.S. citizens shrank from 182,000 to 2,600 to 198 before election supervisors suspended their searches as the presidential election drew near.
This purge will begin with opponents at the ready. Supervisors, weary of last year’s effort, have already expressed skepticism about another go-round.
On Tuesday, representatives with four civil rights groups (Advancement Project, Florida New Majority, Florida Immigrant Coalition, and Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition) held a conference call with Florida reporters to discuss their objections with renewing the purge. They filed a lawsuit in 2012 to stop the purge and promised they would consider all options if Scott were to begin another one.
“We are asking the supervisors do not use these voter purge rolls,” said Mone Holder, political coordinator for Florida New Majority. “We are hoping that this doesn’t take place.”
Here’s Wednesday’s release:
Media Advisory: Secretary of State Detzner Announces Project Integrity Tour of Florida to Work with Election Supervisors
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.- Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced today the launch of Project Integrity, offering information about maintaining eligible voters on the voter rolls and holding a series of roundtable discussions with local Supervisors of Elections.
The roundtables will provide the Secretary an opportunity to work with the Supervisors of Elections to protect the integrity of Florida’s voter rolls.
“I am embarking on the Project Integrity roundtable tour to collaborate with Supervisors to protect the integrity of our voter rolls,” said Secretary of State Ken Detzner. “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. Our elections process must uphold the integrity of local voter rolls, and I look forward to the participation from Supervisors of Elections to strengthen our elections statewide. As Secretary of State, it is my duty to defend the right to vote in Florida. Project Integrity will provide needed information on the process used to safeguard our voter rolls.”
Supervisors of Elections are invited to attend the roundtable closest to their area held at the Supervisor’s office in the host county.
The Project Integrity schedule is as follows:
October 3rd, Bay County Area Supervisor Roundtable, 1:00 PM CST 830 West 11th Street, Panama City 32401
October 4th, Duval County Area Supervisor Roundtable, 11:00 PM EST 105 East Monroe Street, Jacksonville 32202
October 7th, Orange County Area Supervisor Roundtable, 1:00 PM EST 119 West Kaley Street, Orlando 32806
October 8th, Sarasota County Area Supervisor Roundtable, 10:00 AM EST 101 S. Washington Blvd., Sarasota 34236October 9th, Broward County Area Supervisor Roundtable, 10:30 AM EST 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale 33301