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You may recall that the Republican response to claims that they were working from a flawed database to purge people that were not citizens from the voter rolls in Florida was that the Department of Homeland Security would not give them access to the SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements) database, so they had no other choice but to use their own flawed list based on DMV records. The SAVE database contains a list of legal residents who are not citizens.

The Department of Justice explained to Florida in a letter dated 11 June 2012 that it was Florida's own fault that they could not access the database, because Florida refused to provide the necessary data to search the database. Just a name and date of birth was not sufficient:

In short, your claim that the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security have worked in concert to deny Florida access to the SAVE Program is simply wrong. By your own admission, Florida has been on notice for at least eight months that the SAVE Program can verify naturalized and derived United States Citizens only if Florida provided the appropriate numeric identifiers, and where necessary, the underlying documentation. But Florida has failed either to provide the necessary information to DHS, or to confirm that the necessary information would be available for verification purposes under the SAVE Program. As a result, the significant problems you are encountering in administering this new program are of your own creation.

DOJ 11 June 2012 Letter to Florida

Florida filed a lawsuit in June against the DOJ and Homeland Security to gain access to the SAVE database.  U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle, though, ruled that the 90-day provision did not apply to removing noncitizens, who can't legally register to vote. This ruling was reported on 27 June 2012:
A judge on Wednesday rejected the federal government’s attempt to block Florida’s voter purge of non-U.S. citizens, partly because the purge has been suspended.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle said federal laws that prohibit the systematic removal of voters close to an election do not refer to noncitizens. He also accepted the state’s claim that its purging efforts are over for now.

The ruling came as part of a request by the U.S. Department of Justice, which sought a retraining order stopping the purge efforts.

Judge halts federal attempt to block Florida’s voter purge

So part of the reason the Judge rejected the Government's attempt to block the purge was because the purge had already been stopped. So guess what? I am not happy to be sharing this news, but today Rick Scott and the Florida GOP are claiming a victory because Homeland Security has agreed in the form of a letter (which I have not been able to find a copy of online), to allow the State access to the SAVE database:
A year-long stalemate between Florida and Washington ended Saturday when the federal government gave the state access to a comprehensive federal citizenship database, which the state will use to resume an election-year purge of noncitizen voters.

(snip)

It wasn't clear why Homeland Security changed course and the department had no comment Saturday. But the reversal comes after a federal judge in Florida refused to halt purge efforts.

(snip)

Within days, Florida will resume the laborious process of purging non-citizens from the list of 11.2 million registered voters. A previous purge based on a flawed list of 2,700 drivers with voter cards who were suspected of being noncitizens ended last month when county election supervisors decided the list was inaccurate and unreliable.

In victory for Scott, federal government clears way for purge of non-citizen voters in Florida

Wasting no time, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner sent a letter on Saturday to county election supervisors statewide:
"Based on the work we have completed during the past year, it is an unfortunate but now undeniable fact that Florida’s voter rolls include a number of non-citizens. These ineligible registered voters must be removed to ensure the integrity of our elections. Under our new partnership with DHS, the Department of State is now better equipped to accurately identify these non-citizens through a careful and deliberate process not possible only days ago," Detzner said in the letter.

Scott wins voter purge war

Update


I've been trying to find a copy of the actual letter that was sent to Florida. So far I've only been able to find quotes from the letter, and this one from The New York Times seems to provide more information.
Florida is not the first state to gain access to the SAVE database. The letter granting Florida permission to use it, which was dated July 9, says that five counties in Arizona are now during so. The program provides immigration status information from more than 100 million records maintained by the Department of Homeland Security.

According to the letter — signed by a Homeland Security official, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services —to verify the citizenship status of people registered to vote in Florida, officials must provide evidence that the person is indeed a noncitizen, like an alien number. Those numbers are typically given to people who are living in the country legally as noncitizens. Under federal law, such individuals are not permitted to vote.

That restriction will prevent Florida from solely using driver’s license information, as it did when the state compiled its initial list of 182,000 voters believed to be noncitizens. The SAVE database can provide no information on illegal immigrants who may have registered to vote.

U.S. to Let Florida Use Its Data for Voter Check

So while Rick Scott and the Florida GOP are touting this as a win for their voter purge efforts, let's look at the reality of what has happened. When they started this purge attempt, they were using a database of over 180,000 people that came from Florida DMV records to identify people to be purged. They started by sending out letters to 2,700 people on the list. If the recipient of those letters did not respond by proving that they were U.S. citizens, it was assumed that they were not citizens, and they were purged from the voter rolls. We all saw the stories about Veterans and other citizens who received some of those letters.

Now that Florida has access to the SAVE database, they must first prove that somebody is not a U.S. Citizen before removing that person from the voter rolls. I call that a win for our side there will be scrutiny as to how these purges are conducted going forward.

As a citizen of Florida, I just want to know where the funds and manpower are coming from to perform the "laborious process of purging non-citizens from the list of 11.2 million registered voters."

Update 2

We all know why the Florida GOP is so anxious to purge our voter rolls, and today's update from Nate Silver explains why the stakes are so high:

We haven’t usually been running forecast updates on the weekend, but a Florida poll will always get our attention. In this case, it’s a new poll from Mason-Dixon, released on Saturday, that shows President Obama with a nominal 1-percentage-point lead there over Mitt Romney.

Our model shows Florida as close as can be. It projects the Nov. 6 result as Mr. Obama 49.5 percent, Mr. Romney 49.4 percent — an outcome that would be close enough to trigger another recount.

Mr. Obama has led in the majority of Florida polls recently — five of seven since June 1. The model hedges against these polls a bit because Florida is normally a bit Republican-leaning and its economy is doing quite poorly. That’s how it gets a tie there.

July 14: Another Recount in Florida?

Originally posted to hungrycoyote on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 09:26 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (42+ / 0-)

    For me, Mitt reminds me of Jeff Bridges in Starman. He's like an alien that hasn't read the entire manual. You know, he's going, "Nice to be in a place where the trees are the right size. -- Robin Williams on Letterman 26 Apr 2012

    by hungrycoyote on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 04:05:34 PM PDT

  •  I don't understand (8+ / 0-)
    the reversal comes after a federal judge in Florida refused to halt purge efforts.
    why DoJ didn't appeal the ruling, which made no sense given the plain wording of the law (wrt no fiddling with voter roles 90 days before an election)
  •  Let's be careful how we parse this… (8+ / 0-)

    I am a Florida resident and a lifelong liberal, so I am invested in this story more than the average Kossack. I also am absolutely and unequivocally not a fan of Rick "the Thief" Scott. However, if the actual result of having an accurate citizen registry to compare against the voter registry is the removal of ineligible persons from the rolls, I find it hard to argue against the objective.

    Okay, before you start the "but, but"s, let me point out that's the purest sentiment in the abstract. Giving Rethuglican operatives license for mischief with little or no oversight is however, cause for concern. But I don't see the facts reported here as absolutely guaranteeing electoral malfeasance. I'd think we'd want to see how the implementation plays out before hitting the panic button.

    After all, in the first round, it didn't take long for wrongly purged victims to be identified. I can't believe that wouldn't be the case this time, if crookery ensued as a result of the ruling and the new data.

    •  I agree with you totally. If they are purging (11+ / 0-)

      non-citizens, it is legitimate that they do that. My concern is that we don't have a repeat of 2000 where the GOP purged 12,000 eligible voters. I just want them to be open and transparent about what they are doing and bear the burden of proving that somebody actually is not a citizen ... and not putting the responsibility of citizens to have to go in and prove that they are citizens ... before purging somebody from the voter rolls, especially this close to the election.

      I'm a Florida resident too.

      For me, Mitt reminds me of Jeff Bridges in Starman. He's like an alien that hasn't read the entire manual. You know, he's going, "Nice to be in a place where the trees are the right size. -- Robin Williams on Letterman 26 Apr 2012

      by hungrycoyote on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 05:05:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The title should be that Scott (14+ / 0-)

      wins the spin war. He is claiming that he forced DHS to give him access to a database they had refused to before. They didn't refuse access, just improper access (without the correct identifying info.) DHS is still offering the same access as before as long as the requests are submitted with the right information. They have provided this info to other states. Scott just won some red meat for his base.

    •  Purging is problematic anyway (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hungrycoyote

      They won't be 100% accurate (Actually, to tell the truth, I think they don't want to be). Some people will be wrongly targeted. Now, you're a registered voter and you get purged, and you need to take time off from your day job to prove you are citizen. Not so easy. And the closer it gets to the election, the harder it is to do that, to publicize the problems, to get it fixed.

      And how many non-citizens have ever tried to vote in Florida? If this was a real problem they would have had a slew of arrests and convictions. It's a made up problem and the number of people who would ever show up at the polls as ineligible is probably much, much smaller than the number they are yanking, validly or not, from the rolls. Probably even smaller than the number of real, valid voters they are purging.

      •  Yes, but unfortunately they have been able (0+ / 0-)

        to prove that there were non-citizens on the rolls, and thus have gained the support of over 50% of Florida Citizens to purge non-citizens.

        I have no way of confirming this, but I'm wondering if part of the problem is the fact that the DMV asks people if they want to register to vote when they renew their Driver's License. I read that some people who are here legally, thought that when they were issued a driver's license, it meant that they were also allowed to vote. I'm not saying that makes sense, just that Florida's own procedures put those people on the voter rolls to begin with.

        For me, Mitt reminds me of Jeff Bridges in Starman. He's like an alien that hasn't read the entire manual. You know, he's going, "Nice to be in a place where the trees are the right size. -- Robin Williams on Letterman 26 Apr 2012

        by hungrycoyote on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 10:29:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ok, but we still need to fight the meme (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hungrycoyote

          that "voter fraud" is tipping elections (with the implication that they're tipping the "wrong" way). There is no evidence (that I have seen) that illegal aliens are turning out to vote in numbers large enough to matter, while there is some evidence that the purge campaign is disenfranchising valid voters.

  •  all these Red states suppressing voting rights... (7+ / 0-)

    doesn't inspire confidence in their vote totals in November.

    "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

    by MartyM on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 04:46:47 PM PDT

  •  Wow, this is like handing the rethugs a (8+ / 0-)

    license to do anything: these criminals can manipulate a database to drop anyone they want.  Wouldn't surprise me if Rove and Co. are already on their way to Florida to "supervise" this fiasco.  

    I cannot believe someone couldn't have appealed this latest purge effort by these crooks.  

    "It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." President Barack Obama 3/24/09

    by sfcouple on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 04:55:25 PM PDT

    •  Look they won the point in court that the (8+ / 0-)

      people that they are supposedly purging are actually not citizens and therefore should not be on the voter rolls to begin with. I read one place, that some people who are in this country legally, get a driver's license and for some reason think that because they've been issued a driver's license also have earned the right to vote.

      My concern is how they go about it. The previous method of sending out a bunch of letters to "suspected" non-citizens and purging them from the voter rolls if they do not respond and prove the are citizens, is not an effective or transparent way of doing this.

      The burden should be on the state to prove that somebody is not a citizen before they go through the process of actually removing the person from the voter rolls.

      For me, Mitt reminds me of Jeff Bridges in Starman. He's like an alien that hasn't read the entire manual. You know, he's going, "Nice to be in a place where the trees are the right size. -- Robin Williams on Letterman 26 Apr 2012

      by hungrycoyote on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 05:08:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are these people not paying attention (9+ / 0-)
        for some reason think that because they've been issued a driver's license also have earned the right to vote.
        when they register to vote to the box you have to check saying that you are a US citizen?

        I'm not convinced that this is really a common problem - no more than the myth of voter fraud the GOP uses as an excuse for Voter ID.  This is all about voter suppression, pure and simple.

        NC-4 (soon to be NC-6) Obama/Biden 2012

        by bear83 on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 05:18:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I understand, but how accurate are the Homeland (6+ / 0-)

        Security Lists?  At the very least this needs an immense amount of supervision by experienced and tough minded lawyers who can't be intimated by a bunch of republican thugs.  

        I mean these folks could drop any number of people from the voting lists and then worry about the legality of their actions after the election.  

        "It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." President Barack Obama 3/24/09

        by sfcouple on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 05:23:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think that the lists are of people who are (8+ / 0-)

          in the country legally, but are not U.S. Citizens. So, I think the Homeland Security database would be accurate.

          I don't think the database contains people who are undocumented. Evidently, what the GOP is claiming is they need the database to compare legal residents who are not U.S. Citizens to the voter rolls.

          For me, Mitt reminds me of Jeff Bridges in Starman. He's like an alien that hasn't read the entire manual. You know, he's going, "Nice to be in a place where the trees are the right size. -- Robin Williams on Letterman 26 Apr 2012

          by hungrycoyote on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 05:34:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  hungrycoyote: I agree with you in principle, but (7+ / 0-)

            this is just a blatant attempt at voter suppression that can easily mushroom into other red States.  In the hands of rethugs this can be so easily manipulated in their favor, gopers would worry about the legality of their actions after the election.

            I would feel better if there wasn't a republican within 1000 miles of that database when it is being used to remove people from the voting polls.  If there is any way for the 1% to cheat, lie and steal they will---they will do anything and stop at nothing to defeat President Obama.

            "It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." President Barack Obama 3/24/09

            by sfcouple on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 05:43:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree. Believe me, I wasn't happy (6+ / 0-)

              when I read about this and shared the news.

              If we could be assured that a responsible, honest effort was being made here, then we wouldn't have an argument to stand on because in reality, a non-citizen should not be on the voter rolls. It's the methodology used to identify such people that concerns me.

              One of the reasons the judge wouldn't rule in the DOJ's favor was because the purge had already been halted. However, as soon as the judge ruled ... just a few days later we learn that the purge is going to start again.

              The missing piece here is the actual letter Florida received. I haven't been able to find a copy of it online. Somehow, I think there's a reason for that ... like it is not a flattering win for Rick Scott and the Florida GOP.

              The one good thing about this is how the supervisors of elections stood their ground and up for the citizens in their districts. Hopefully, they will continue to do so, and refuse to purge anyone unless that it has been proven without a doubt that the person is not a U.S. Citizen.

              For me, Mitt reminds me of Jeff Bridges in Starman. He's like an alien that hasn't read the entire manual. You know, he's going, "Nice to be in a place where the trees are the right size. -- Robin Williams on Letterman 26 Apr 2012

              by hungrycoyote on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 05:56:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks hungrycoyote, I know you are correct in (6+ / 0-)

                that we can't have non-citizens voting.  It's just that knowing the skeletor has access to such a database is disconcerting.  

                Please keep us posted if you do find the actual letter Florida received---let's hope it contains a lot of restrictions and strict procedures.

                Thanks again, I do enjoy your writing,

                "It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." President Barack Obama 3/24/09

                by sfcouple on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 06:09:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Did you see the update I posted? I (7+ / 0-)

                  didn't find the actual letter, but I found more information, and it looks like that while Scott is touting this as a win, in reality there are more restrictions on them now that they have access to the database:

                  According to the letter — signed by a Homeland Security official, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services —to verify the citizenship status of people registered to vote in Florida, officials must provide evidence that the person is indeed a noncitizen, like an alien number. Those numbers are typically given to people who are living in the country legally as noncitizens. Under federal law, such individuals are not permitted to vote.

                  That restriction will prevent Florida from solely using driver’s license information, as it did when the state compiled its initial list of 182,000 voters believed to be noncitizens. The SAVE database can provide no information on illegal immigrants who may have registered to vote.

                  U.S. to Let Florida Use Its Data for Voter Check

                  For me, Mitt reminds me of Jeff Bridges in Starman. He's like an alien that hasn't read the entire manual. You know, he's going, "Nice to be in a place where the trees are the right size. -- Robin Williams on Letterman 26 Apr 2012

                  by hungrycoyote on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 06:53:11 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes I did and thank you very much (5+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    hungrycoyote, MKSinSA, elwior, Smoh, glorificus

                    for your work and effort getting this information to us.  I've been on DK pretty much all day and it's about time for a break.  Thinking a nice cool one will taste pretty good right about now....

                    "It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." President Barack Obama 3/24/09

                    by sfcouple on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 07:10:29 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Pedro Espanza is a non-resident, therefore, (5+ / 0-)

          All 78 Pedro Espanza's in the state of florida are removed from the rolls.

          Ha!  That'll show that crook!

  •  Evil in FL is winning (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, MKSinSA, elwior, glorificus

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 05:13:10 PM PDT

  •  How is this a "win" for Rick Scott? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, MKSinSA, TXdem, elwior, Supavash

    His election supervisors have to use a more reliable database to perform this purge.

    And there's still that nagging little detail that the state was in violation of the Voting Rights Act for purging people within 90 days of an election.

    Has that even been considered? Did I miss something here?

    It is time to #Occupy Media.

    by lunachickie on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 05:44:43 PM PDT

    •  It isn't a victory. They just spin it to the base. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hungrycoyote, elwior, TofG, glorificus

      And then they think of other ways to suppress the vote. We already know that there will be robocalls to direct voters to vote at the wrong polling place on the wrong day, or warning them that people with outstanding warrants (even traffic tickets) will be arrested if they show up to vote. We know that there will be dud voting machines in insufficient numbers at the polls. And so on. We know this, because that is what is done in all of the voter suppression states.

      If we had legal means for preventing all of these felonies, they would just think up more for next time. Unless, of course, the felons, up to and including Secretaries of State and Governors, were put in prison.

      Indiana has thrown its former Secretary of State, Charlie White, out of office and put him in home detention for a year for multiple felony electoral crimes, including his own personal voting fraud. He voted in a district after moving out of it, and served in local government in a district that required officials to be residents. It's a step, but it isn't enough.

      Hands off my ObamaCare[TM] http://www.healthcare.gov

      by Mokurai on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 11:16:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  so this isn't relevant anymore? (0+ / 0-)
        the state was in violation of the Voting Rights Act for purging people within 90 days of an election.

        It is time to #Occupy Media.

        by lunachickie on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 07:11:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  According to the Judge, if they are non-citizens (0+ / 0-)

          they should not be on the voter rolls to begin with, so the timing of removing them from the rollls does not come in to play. You can't take away from somebody, if they weren't entitled to have it in the first place.

          For me, Mitt reminds me of Jeff Bridges in Starman. He's like an alien that hasn't read the entire manual. You know, he's going, "Nice to be in a place where the trees are the right size. -- Robin Williams on Letterman 26 Apr 2012

          by hungrycoyote on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 10:31:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I don't understand how this is a victory for Scott (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, elwior

    and the Florida GOP. Have to agree with lunachickie above.

    •  I don't think it is a victory for Scott/Florida (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKSinSA, elwior, TofG, glorificus, Supavash

      GOP. I said they are claiming it as a victory.

      Read my comments at the end of the Update.  They now have restrictions on how they go about identifying the non-citizens that are on the voter rolls.

      For me, Mitt reminds me of Jeff Bridges in Starman. He's like an alien that hasn't read the entire manual. You know, he's going, "Nice to be in a place where the trees are the right size. -- Robin Williams on Letterman 26 Apr 2012

      by hungrycoyote on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 07:56:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So they get to purge non-citizens (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior

    which they are non-citizens because they're trying to purge them.  War is peace, slavery is freedom, Republican Party convenience is law.

    "I'm going to rub your faces in things you try to avoid." - Muad'Dib

    by Troubadour on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 10:24:20 PM PDT

  •  So, what the hell are they going to do (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hungrycoyote

    about people who naturalize between now and November?  Oh, wait, that's part of the point.  Never mind.

    The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion. Molly Ivins

    by MufsMom on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:12:05 AM PDT

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