The League of Women Voters has joined the chorus of those who don't see much improvement between Florida's purge of non-citizens last year and Gov. Rick Scott's proposed upcoming purge.
On Thursday, the group released this statement:
Tallahassee, FL -- Yesterday Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner wrapped up his "Project Integrity Tour" in South Florida, capping off a five-city swing through the state with Supervisors of Elections and local citizens.
Prior efforts to purge voters by the state have shown a steady track record of defective, and often disastrous results, with eligible voters being removed and challenged. The Secretary proposes to use the SAVE (System Alien Verification for Entitlements) database exclusively, when other federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), use multiple databases.
"Using the federal SAVE Program to conduct this 'cleaning' of the voter rolls is like taking a chihuahua on a hunting expedition -- it is an inappropriate tool for this application," says League President Deirdre Macnab. "The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has already warned that this database is not a foolproof means of verifying the voter rolls."
Registering to vote as a non-citizen is a crime, and non-citizens should not vote. At the same time, eligible citizens should not be removed due to haste or inaccurate and unreliable information. The League of Women Voters of Florida supports the state's 67 independently elected Supervisors of Elections, as they and their staffs are on the front lines of every Florida election, and they know what works. They update our voter rolls every day to keep our database clean, accurate and efficient. The League will be watching to ensure that the rights of eligible voters are not undermined.
"We urge the Secretary's office to look for ways to engage the state's electorate and use the Department of State's resources to make the voting process more accessible to citizens, rather than more strenuous," Macnab concluded.
The League believes our problem in Florida is not the voter rolls, but rather that not enough citizens are voting. We must find more effective ways to facilitate active voter turnout, not erect roadblocks. Florida has work to do.