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Feds Tell Florida: You Can't Purge Voters -- There Are Laws About That

Gov. Rick Scott's campaign to purge "noncitizens" from the voter rolls less than three months before a primary election violates federal law, according to the Department of Justice.

In a letter sent yesterday to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, the chief of the DOJ's voting section gave Detzner six days to let the feds know whether he would stop the purge that has already affected hundreds of voters.

Scrubbing large numbers of potentially ineligible voters from the rolls less than 90 days before a federal election violates the National Voter Registration Act, the letter says. Also, under the Voting Rights Act,

any voter rules impacting five counties in Florida with a history of racial discrimination must be approved by the feds, to make sure the rules don't have a discriminatory effect. Scott's administration didn't bother to get approval before starting this scrub.

This federal smackdown follows weeks of outcry from the media, elected officials, and voting rights groups who pointed out that the "noncitizen" lists are heavy on Democrats and Hispanic voters. Plus, the lists are full of errors. Local elections officials have discovered they include hundreds of people who are, in fact, citizens.

Detzner has until June 6 to respond to the feds. According to the News Service of Florida, he's still dedicated to "preventing ineligible voters from being able to cast a ballot."


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