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Rick Scott
Gov. Rick Scott (Andrew Innerarity/Reuters)
The Miami Herald is reporting that Florida Gov. Rick Scott will fight the Justice Department for his illegal voter purge. While the move to purge thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of voters from the rolls violates two voting rights laws, the state is defiant.

Justice has notified the state that it is in violation of both the National Voter Registration Act and the Voting Rights Act. The Voter Registration Act does instruct states to maintain clean voter rolls, but prohibits purging voters in the 90-day window before a federal election. The state's primary is in August, so they've missed that deadline. In addition, under the Voting Rights Act, the state is required to get preclearance for any changes to voting law from the federal government, because of the long history of racial discrimination in voting in five counties.

“Our letter will address the issues raised by DOJ while emphasizing the importance of having accurate voter rolls,” said Chris Cate, spokesman for Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who’s in charge of the state’s elections division.

Cate would neither confirm nor deny what was in the state’s response, but he acknowledged that the state disagrees with the federal government and doesn’t plan to throw in the towel. “We know we’ve been acting responsibly,” he said.

If Scott’s administration stares down the DOJ, it will only heighten the partisan feud over the voter rolls in the nation’s largest swing state.

A showdown seems inevitable, with the state's Attorney General Pam Bondi backing Scott and company up. On Fox News Tuesday, Bondi said the state will "keep fighting" to "to insure that the proper people vote." By "proper" people she of course means the people who vote Republican. She also failed to mention that the purge she is defending as the state's chief law enforcement official is, of course, illegal. Rule of law, baby.

The good news for Florida voters is the revolt by county elections supervisors, who have found the state's lists of voters to purge so riddled with errors that they won't carry out the purge. The purge has been suspended in nearly all of the 67 counties in the state.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 05:20 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Florida and Daily Kos.

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