Just read Governor Scott’s canned responses in the Orlando Sentinel when asked about the long lines.
Just read Governor Scott’s canned responses in the Orlando Sentinel when asked about the long lines.
But for now, here’s Gary Fineout’s AP story (which has some confused information gleaned from the decision, as it focuses on Florida’s 5 counties covered by the Voting Rights Act: Florida’s early voting law prior to HB 1355 allowed up to 14 days of early voting (not only 12); HB 1355 reduced the number of days to 8).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A federal court on Thursday gave five Florida counties four extra days of early voting in this fall’s elections.
The Republican-controlled Florida legislature last year cut the state’s number of early-voting days to 8 from 12. But the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said the changes won’t happen in Collier, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough and Monroe counties, which are covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
That section requires election changes to be cleared by federal officials or federal judges. The states covered under Section 5 are mostly in the South and all have a history of discriminating against blacks, American Indians, Asian-Americans, Alaskan Natives or Hispanics.
The three-judge panel said Thursday that the reduction in early voting days in those counties “would make it materially more difficult for some minority voters to cast a ballot.” But the 119-page ruling did say there were ways Florida could change its early voting practices that would not adversely impact minority voting rights.
A spokesman for Gov. Rick Scott, who signed the changes into law last year, called that part of the decision “encouraging.”
Out of 11.2 million or so voters on the official statewide rolls as of April 1, 2012.
Here’s some quick analysis…
Approximately 0.000088496% of the current statewide voter roll may have voted illegally once (or perhaps more) over the past decade or so.
The percentage is even less when you consider the tens of MILLIONS of votes cast in local and statewide elections in Florida since 2006.
Notwithstanding the hundreds of Florida citizens who have been falsely accused by the Florida Secretary of State as being “potential noncitizens” who are supposedly corrupting the integrity of our voting system, it’s great to see that Governor Scott has exposed the myth of voter fraud in Florida.
You see, the Florida Division of Elections, in its ill-advised and likely illegal effort to purge the voter rolls of what it claims are “potential noncitizens,” originally identified some 182,000 individuals who fit the bill.
Well, not confident in its list, the (new) Secretary of State, Ken Detzner (you see, the previous SOS, Kurt Browning, who was no angel himself when it came to protecting the right of Florida citizens to vote, resigned when he didn’t have enough confidence in the purge list his office originally generated, but that Governor Scott wanted him to pursue), pared it down to some 25,000 names, and then, finally, to 2,625 names, which his office then shipped off to the 67 Supervisors of Elections to do his dirty work.
Some of the SOEs balked, understandably.
But after the purging was done by the independently elected Supervisors of Elections, Governor Scott proudly defended the Secretary of State’s effort, saying to NPR, “We found that nearly 100 individuals that are non-U.S. citizens are registered to vote and over 50 have voted in prior elections.”
Now, the facts.
First, as I’ve documented elsewhere on these pages, no evidence has been provided by the Secretary of State that the 107 “potential noncitizens” it touted as being removed from its list were indeed noncitizens.
Second, also as I’ve documented here, a majority of the 107 individuals who were removed from the voter rolls were not even on the Florida Secretary of State’s purge list of 2,625 “potential noncitizens” that it sent to the Supervisors of Elections. Only 41 of the 107 names were on the SOS’s purge list of “potential noncitizens.”
As for those 41 (out of 2,625) individuals who the SOS identified as “potential noncitizens” and who the SOEs removed from the rolls (presumably after the SOEs–who do the actual purging–received proof), I have crunched the numbers, and identifying exactly 10 who may have cast a ballot.
Here’s the breakdown of the epidemic of alleged “noncitizens” voting, with the county and the last date of the election in which someone using that “potential noncitizen’s” name cast a ballot.
Really? That’s it? We should have confidence in the Secretary of State’s new effort to purge Florida voters by matching data from the federal Department of Homeland Security with its own admittedly “obsolete” data?
Frankly, I’d rather trust casting a legitimate vote in Senegal.
Of course, you wouldn’t know that reading the completely misleading headline in the “AP NewsBreak” story rushed to publication by the Washington Post and numerous other outlets.
The real headline should be, “Florida Secretary of State Admits Identifying “Potential Noncitizens with ‘Outdated’ Data.”
The pending agreement with the Department of Homeland Security is hardly a “victory” for the GOP, as the Washington Post’s headline screams.
It is true that the Department of Homeland Security reached a pending agreement with the Florida Department of State to allow the Division of Elections to access the federal SAVE database — Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements — so as to more accurately identify “potential noncitizens” who might be incorrectly registered to vote in Florida. (Lord knows, the Florida Secretary of State needs help in its endeavors, as I’ve recently documented elsewhere, extensively.
It is important to disassemble the AP’s misleading story regarding the Florida Secretary of State’s “victory.”
First, the pending agreement with Homeland Security prohibits the state of Florida from using only the name and birth date of registered voters when requesting SAVE data to verify whether registered voters are noncitizens. Second, the Division of Elections may only access the SAVE database if it provides a “unique identifier” — such as an “alien number” or a certificate number on a Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship — for those who it suspects may be ineligible to be registered to vote. But the Secretary of State does not (rightly) collect such information on voter registration forms, and the driver’s license records that the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has provided to the Division of Elections are often inaccurate or outdated, leading to numerous false-positives when they are matched with the voter rolls.
In other words, if Florida Supervisors of Elections end up purging voters from the rolls using inaccurate or outdated information provided to them by the Division of Elections, they risk disenfranchising citizens, stripping them of their right to vote.
So, it is quite questionable how newly acquired access to the federal SAVE database will help ferret out “potential noncitizens,” as most citizens on the Florida voter rolls do not have a “unique identifier” that is included in the federal database.
What is not questionable from the pending agreement is that the Florida Secretary of State has admitted that it has been identifying “potential noncitizens” using ‘outdated’ information.
As Secretary of State Ken Detzner stated in a Letter to Supervisors Regarding SAVE sent to the 67 Supervisors of Elections on Saturday, July 14:
The process to identify potential non-citizens will include a carefully calibrated matching process between the Florida Voter Registration System and the driver’s license records of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles before any records are verified through SAVE. The existing file of potentially ineligible voters which was created months ago, is now outdated and will not be used as the basis for further action by the Department of State. It should be considered obsolete. (Emphasis in red, mine.)
One would hope that those individuals who are citizens and legally registered, and who were either incorrectly identified as “potential noncitizens” by the Florida Secretary of State, or worse, wrongly purged from the rolls by the Supervisors of Elections in early June because of the use of ‘outdated” or “obsolete” data, will be reinstated.
Clearly, any matching process between datafiles that are created for vastly different purposes may lead to wrongful ‘convictions,’ depriving individuals of the civil rights.
It remains to be seen whether, and how, the Florida Division of Elections will conduct a matching process with the federal SAVE database. For the sake of the rights of all Floridians, let’s hope it is done more carefully and more transparently than the state’s feeble effort earlier this year.
But the Florida Secretary of State has claimed that 9 out of the 107 individuals purged from the voter rolls for allegedly being “potential noncitizens” are from Pinellas, Peter’s beloved county on the sandy shores of the Gulf of Mexico.
Funny thing is, though, of the 37 “potential noncitizens” the Division of Elections flagged from Pinellas in its systematic effort in April to cleanse the voter list, only one was removed by the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections, Deborah Clark, after she reviewed the state’s shoddy work. The other 36 individuals wrongly fingered by Secretary of State Ken Detzner in his unwarranted purge are indeed citizens and are eligible to vote.
Oh, and as if this comes as a shock: 59.5% of those wrongly accused by the Secretary of State who are living in Pinellas County are minorities. And only 1/5 were Republicans.
(You can ask Peter what percentage of registered voters in Pinellas are minorities and Republicans).
But cut the Secretary of State and his crack staff some flack.
His list of 37 “potential noncitizens” residing in Pinellas County was accurate 2.7% of the time. (Actually, the Division of Elections ill-advised and likely illegal purge has the fingermarks of an individual who evidently is no longer working in the office. Perhaps more on that later…).
The one “potential noncitizen” snagged in the Governor’s expansive and faulty dragnet–a Hispanic man in his 50s, living in St. Petersburg, who registered to vote in 2001 as a Republican(!)–has never cast a ballot in Florida.
The other 8 “potential noncitizens” removed from the voter rolls in Pinellas County–and celebrated by Governor Scott that his purge is working–were in fact identified by and removed from the list by Supervisor Clark.
Of those 8 individuals removed from the county’s list of voters by the SOE, exactly zero are the April 1, 2012 state voter file. That’s a big fat zero. They are not on the state’s list of registered voters, and thus we don’t know anything about them–their party, their race/ethnicity, their age, their past voting history (if any) and most importantly, whether or not they were citizens and eligible to vote.
Seems par for the course.
As I’ve written before, of the 11.2 million registered voters in the state of Florida, the Florida Secretary of State identified 2,625 “potential noncitizens,” and 41 have been removed from the rolls. And of the 2,625 “potential noncitizens” identified by Governor Scott’s henchmen, there is evidence that perhaps 7 have ever cast a ballot. It remains unclear, however, as to whether or not they were noncitizens (at the time) and thus ineligible to exercise their franchise.
As I’ve said before, Governor Scott’s Voter Purge must come to a complete halt.