Last year, Florida compared driver’s license records with voter registration records and turned up as many as 182,000 registered voters who may not be U.S. citizens, according to state documents. In Duval County estimates show there are 3,600 immigrant voters. That number is less than 500 in Clay County, said Clay County Supervisor of Elections Chris Chambliss. But the Florida Governor’s office did not release the list and instead sought access to the federal immigration database to verify the matches. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has turned down that request.
“We want to have fair honest elections in our state and so we have been put in the position we have to sue the federal government to get this information,” Florida Governor Rick Scott said.
The lawsuit Florida filed last month in a federal court in Washington D.C. came the same day that the U.S. Department of Justice announced its plan to ask a federal court to block the state from pushing ahead with removing potential non-U.S. citizens from the voter rolls. Authorities contend that the state’s effort violates federal voting laws.
The Governor’s office redoubled the efforts and sent to local election officials a smaller list of voters and asked them to check on voters’ status. Since April, supervisors of elections in Florida have removed roughly 100 voters from the rolls for being non-U.S. citizens.
Lee and Collier county officials say they will remove 25 voters in the next few weeks if the voters fail to respond to mail requests and a newspaper notice. In Duval County records show seven of 18 “non-immigrants” identified, registered to vote while getting a license. The data are not yet available for “immigrants” that have been registered.
The Florida Voters Registration form does not require for the applicant to provide proof of citizenship but just a valid driver’s license. This is how non-immigrants could have gotten registered. “The local Department of Motor Vehicles is “kind of on one side of the fence,” said Duval County Supervisor of elections, Jerry Holland. They don’t want to be blamed for these guys being registered. ))