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Gov. Rick Scott defends purge of voter rolls, says Homeland Security data needed

Gov. Rick Scott is spending the day holding "roundtable" discussions in various Panhandle counties, but he also answered a couple off-topic questions after his first stop of the day in Gadsden County. The Times/Herald asked the governor to comment about the Department of Justice's request that Florida stop purging voters from the roll and his response to the federal government's concerns.

Scott's answer: "We need to have fair elections. When you vote, you want to make sure that the other individuals that are voting have a right to vote. That's what I care about. If you're a candidate, you want to make sure that the people that vote in your election are people who have a right to vote. So my focus is in making sure that our state has fair elections. People who have a right to vote (can) vote. Because I don't want to disenfranchise anybody in their voting rights."

As far as the timing of the purge and why it didn't begin earlier in his tenure, Scott said, "We were waiting on the (U.S. Department of) Homeland Security database. So it just kept getting delayed. I'm responsible for the state, but my understanding is they just kept delaying it. .. There is no perfect time for doing any of these things. We just want fair elections. That's what all of us want. This is not a partisan issue."

So far, the Homeland Security Department, which manages citizenship data, has refused to share its database with Florida.

(In case you were wondering about the other folks joining Scott in the News Service of Florida's video linked above, they are State Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, who represents the region, and Gadsden County Commissioner Eugene Lamb Jr.)