Florida will defy a federal warning to stop purging people the state suspects aren't U.S. citizens from voter registration rolls.
Despite a Justice Department letter, objections from county elections officials and evidence that a disproportionate number are voters of color, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner's office planned to continue scrubbing the election rolls, a spokesman said Friday. Gov. Rick Scott (R) ordered the search for potentially ineligible voters.
“We have an obligation to make sure the voter rolls are accurate and we are going to continue forward and do everything that we can legally do to make sure than ineligible voters cannot vote,” said Chris Cate, a spokesman for Detzner. “We are firmly committed to doing the right thing and preventing ineligible voters from being able to cast a ballot. We are not going to give up our efforts to make sure the voter rolls are accurate."
Justice Department officials declined to comment on Florida’s plans.
In a letter issued late Thursday, T. Christian Herren Jr., who leads the Justice Department voting section, told Detzner that the state's plan to review the status of the 2,600 suspected non-citizens and purge them if the voters fail to prove citizenship appears to violate the 1964 Voting Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act.
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