Ruling from the bench, numerous media outlets are reporting the Federal judge handing the U.S. Department of Justice’s challenge to Florida’s voter purge and its compliance with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) has rejected the DOJ’s request for a restraining order.
The Judge apparently relied on the state’s claim that the purge effort had stopped for now and his interpretation that the NVRA prohibition on systematic removal of voters close to an election did not apply to the systematic removal of noncitizens. The Miami Herald has the details.
The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the State of Florida and its Secretary of State alleging violations of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The complaint challenges Florida’s recent attempt to systematically purge ineligible voters less than 90 days before a Federal election. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida in Tallahassee.
The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice has issued a 5 page response to the Florida Secretary of State. The DOJ letter focuses on the 90 day “quiet period” in the National Voter Registration Act that prohibits systemic purges and reminds Florida that the Homeland Security database only includes naturalized citizens and not those born in the U.S. and Florida had been on notice for at least eight months that it needed to provide additional detail to use the SAVE database. The letters ends with “I have authorized the initiation of an enforcement action against Florida in federal court.”
Meanwhile, the Florida Secretary of State announced that the state had filed suit in the U.S District Court for the Distrait of Columbia. The suit claims that the Department of State has a statutory right of access to the SAVE (Systemic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program System of Records) database and the Homeland Security department is preventing access. The e-mails attached to the complaint outline some of the State’s plans for the data – including running a search on all of Florida’s almost 12 million voters (at a cost of at least 50 cents per voter) and then continually running checks on new applicants. (Documents courtesy of the Miami Herald website.)
Courtesy of the Miami Herald, a federal lawsuit has been filed against the State challenging the voter purge that the DOJ and the Secretary of State have been exchanging letters over.
You can probably guess the tone of this letter by reading its title: “Florida’s Continuing Commitment to Protecting Citizen Voting Rights.” The Florida Secretary of State disputes the DOJ’s analysis of the National Voter Registration Act and Voting Rights Act, asserts the Homeland Security Dept. is violating federal law, and challenges the DOJ to answer a list of questions. Coverage from the Miami Herald (thanks for the letter copy) and the Tampa Bay Times.
The Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice has sent a letter to the State of Florida outlining two objections to the State’s recent effort to purge non-citizen registrants: 1) the new process was not precleared under the Voting Rights Act (5 of Florida’s counties are preclearance jurisdictions where changes to voting procedures must be preapproved) and 2) the process appears to violate the provisions of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which prohibits such list maintenance activities within 90 days of a federal election. (Letter copy courtesy of MSNBC.) The letter gives the State until June 6th to respond.