What purpose is served by preventing a state from keeping its voting records accurate?
In Florida, the secretary of state's office has been requesting access to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement database for almost a full year in order to remove "illegal aliens and non-citizens off Florida voter rolls," Chris Cate, a Florida Division of Elections spokesman, explained to the Reuters news agency.
The Department of Homeland Security that maintains the database has "been dragging its feet and has yet to comply with the request and now, the Department of Justice is stepping into the purging process," Reuters reported.
According to Cate, access to the database is necessary "to vet a list of 180,000" voters whose citizenship needs to be verified for them to remain among Florida's active voters. The list was established using records from Florida's Division of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and current voter rolls.
At least 2,600 people have been confirmed to have been given voter rights despite the fact that they are in the country illegally. Of those, almost 1,600 live in Miami-Dade County, Reuters reported.
The Department of Justice, seeing that Florida is moving forward with its voter roll clean-up despite the Homeland Security department's lack of cooperation, has intervened, issuing a letter to Secretary of State Ken Detzner warning the state not to purge the thousands of illegal immigrants, dead people and felons until the process is approved under the Voting Rights Act and to "immediately stop" any such activity. The department also filed a lawsuit aimed at the Sunshine State.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in an interview, "This is not a partisan issue ... This is protecting the rights of U.S. citizens and not diluting their vote by non-U.S. citizens. When non-U.S. citizens register to vote and vote, it is illegal. It's a crime and it shouldn't be happening in our great state. We're trying to fix our voters' rolls, and they're trying to stop us. It doesn't make any sense."
So, the state of Florida has been trying for almost a year to confirm those registered to vote through use of a database to which access already should have been granted. The state now has been sued to prevent the verification process.
Doing right is never wrong ... unless political power is threatened.
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