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Read your mail and newspapers, immigrant voters, or elections office could strip you from voter rolls

Miami-Dade's Supervisor of Elections Penelope Townsley has sent a letter briefing the county's mayor and commissioner about the new effort to spot and remove ineligible non-citizen voters from the rolls. Bottom line: the burden is on the voter and, if they don't respond by mail or notice their names in a newspaper ad a month or so later, they'll be stripped from the voter rolls.

The elections office does appear to be trying to help the needy, such as Miami’s Maria Ginorio, a 64-year-old from Cuba, who was featured in our story about the voter-roll numbers. She said she became a U.S. citizen in August 2009. She said she was angered by a letter she received asking her to go to the elections office to document her status. Ginorio, who said she typically votes by absentee ballot, is ill and homebound.

"I'm not going to do anything about this,'' Ginorio said. "I can't. I guess I won't vote anymore. I say this with pain in my heart, because voting is my right as a citizen.''

This morning, the elections office said it would reach out to her by phone and give her more help.

Here's an excerpt of Townsley's letter:

Within seven (7) days from receiving a list of voters, we are required to mail a certified letter to the voter requesting proof of citizenship. The voter then has thirty (30) days to provide our office with qualified proof. Those individuals who provide the required documentation within a timely manner will remain as active voters. Those who we can confirm received notification, but did not provide the necessary documentation within the 30 days will be removed from the voter registration system. Any voter whose notification is returned undeliverable will be placed in a legal advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation in English, Spanish and Creole. If the necessary documentation is not received within 30 days of the date the ad is published, the voter will be removed from the voter registration system.

While this may cause the Department some hardship logistically since this is an unexpected new process at the start of a busy election cycle, the procedures themselves are not new. This process is set forth in Florida Statutes 98.075 and Rule 1S-2.041 for the removal of ineligible registered voters and is consistent with how we have been handling voters that the DOE believes to be ineligible for other reasons such as a person being a felon, deceased or mentally incapacitated.

Download State of Florida Division of Elections News Process for Identifying Potential Non Citizen Registered Voters