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Much of the rightwing blogosphere is all OMG, claiming the Dept of Justice has filed motions to prevent Florida from removing dead people from the voting rolls.

This claim is nonsense, as is 99.9 percent (or is it 100 percent?) of what comes from the rightwing propaganda machine.

IN FACT three matters involving Florida voters are in the news.  Anyone who has contact with rightwingers needs to know the difference so you can deal with their misleading claims.

The three matters are:

1.  A legitimate purge of dead people from Florida voting rolls.

2.  An illegitimate attempt to remove "non-citizens" from Florida voting rolls.

3.  Florida legislation that places limits on voter registration, on early voting, and that seeks in other ways to disenfranchise poor, minority, elderly, and young voters.  

FIRST:  53,000 dead voters

For many years, Florida state law did not allow Social Security Administration data to be used to purge voter rolls. Only data from the state Bureau of Vital Statistics could be used.

As a result, if a Florida voter died out of state that person's name likely would never be removed from the voter rolls.  Because Florida has a lot of retirees who moved from elsewhere and many of them have part-time residences in other states, it's not unusual to find Florida voters who die out of state.

In 2011 Florida changed their law to use the Social Security Death Index to remove dead people from the voting rolls -- and they found almost 53,000 dead people on the rolls.

Those people are being removed from the Florida voting rolls, one at a time.  Occasionally, a "dead" person will be found to be alive but most of the 53,000 really are dead.  There are no indications that any of these people voted after their death.

SECOND:  "Non-citizen" voters

A few months ago, the state started comparing voter rolls with a Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle database that contains some citizenship information that is collected when a person gets a state ID such as a driver’s license.

This comparison found 180,000 people who the DMV claimed were "non-citizens" but who also were registered to vote.

However -- there was a BIG problem:  DMV's information is woefully out of date.  If you got a Florida drivers license 15 years ago as a non-citizen, and later you became a citizen, DMV never updated their data. As a result, the DMV database is useless for citizenship information.

Because Rick Scott is intent on removing dark-skinned people from the voting rolls, he ordered the "non-citizens" to be purged.  Florida election officials looked more closely and whittled the 180,000 potential noncitizens to a list of about 2,700.

The state then ordered the counties to contact these people and purge any non-citizens from the voting rolls.  

However, there are problems:

1.  More and more of these "non-citizens" are turning out to be
citizens.  This fact has led many (most ?) county election officials to refuse to comply with the state's orders to remove these "non-citizens" from the voting rolls.

2.  The deadline for these people to prove they are citizens is within 30
days of receiving notification.  The Voting Rights Act requires 90 days notice, and, the Voting Rights Act requires the state to prove people are not eligible -- not
that people must prove themselves eligible.

3.

About 58 percent of those flagged as potential noncitizens are Hispanics, Florida’s largest ethnic immigrant population, a Miami Herald analysis found. Hispanics make up 13 percent of the overall 11.3 million active registered voters.
It is this action that DOJ has ordered Florida to stop.

THREE:  Republican legislative attempts to limit the franchise in Florida

Finally -- and I won't go into the details as other diarists have dealt with this matter -- a federal district court judge has blocked the implementation of portions of recent Florida laws that interfere with voter registration and voting.

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Southwest Florida voters say a federal judge's ruling on a controversial law is a victory for voter registration groups. The judge says putting a strict time limit on getting the forms into the elections office is unconstitutional.

When this law was originally passed, some third-party voter registration groups said they would stop urging people to vote for fear of hefty fines. But now a judge is taking their side and some people WINK News they hold out hope this will get more people registered and out to vote.

 . . .

House Bill 1355 sought to regulate voter registration drives by outside groups such as the League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote.

. . .

The law also said groups only had two days to send in filled-out voter registration forms, or would face hefty fines. Before, groups had ten days to get the forms in.

But now a federal judge has blocked portions of that law saying two days is not enough time. "Because you know, you cant get something from Fort Myers from Cape Coral in 2 days, like, in the mail," said Alexa Cerdan.

BOTTOM LINE:

Three different things going on:

1.   DOJ has nothing to do with the dead voter issue.  

2.  DOJ has stopped the illegal purge of "non-citizens."

3.  The federal court system is not buying Florida's attempts to limit the franchise.

Granted your Teabagging brother-in-law likely is not smart enough to understand the difference but you need to have the details handy so the rest of the family will understand.

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