Skip to comments.Judge: Florida Voter Purge Can Go On
Posted on 10/05/2012 6:27:09 AM PDT by Iron Munro
A federal judge in Fort Lauderdale ruled Thursday that Floridas purge of potential noncitizens on the voter rolls can go on.
U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch said federal law does not prohibit the state from removing voters who were never lawfully eligible to register in the first place. Florida has identified 198 voters as potential noncitizens among an estimated 11.4 million registered voters and sent the names to independent county elections supervisors for their review.
A coalition of liberal-leaning voting-rights groups had asked the court to halt the purge, arguing in a hearing Monday that federal law prohibits purging the voter rolls 90 days before an election.
Attorneys for Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner countered that the state could purge noncitizens at any time because they should have never been on the voter rolls.
Were very pleased another federal court has ruled that Floridas efforts to remove noncitizens from the voter rolls are lawful and in the best interest of Florida voters, Detzner said in a statement Thursday. Ensuring ineligible voters cant cast a ballot is a fundamental aspect of conducting fair elections.
Zlochs ruling follows one issued by a Tallahassee federal judge in June in a separate case filed by the U.S. Justice Department. That judge also opined that the 90-day purge prohibition in the 1993 National Voter Registration Act applies to people lawfully registered to vote, such as felons, and is silent as to noncitizens.
Zloch reached a similar conclusion. The 90-day purge prohibition, he ruled, applies to voters who have recently changed their address, but not to people who should not be on the rolls, such as minors or noncitizens.
Certainly, the NVRA does not require the State to idle on the sidelines until a noncitizen violates the law before the State can act, he wrote. And surely the NVRA does not require the State to wait until after the critical juncture when the vote has been cast and the harm has been fully realized to address what it views as nothing short of voter fraud.
Gov. Rick Scotts administration has cited fraud as the reason for moving forward with the purge, despite critics concerns that lawful voters will be wrongly blocked from voting. Some of the people on the list of 198 potential noncitizens, based on a federal citizenship database, have told the Miami Herald they were citizens. Others said they are not.
About 58 percent of those on the list are minorities 41 percent Hispanic and 17 percent black.
A poll released Thursday and conducted last week by Latino Decisions for Americas Voice, a Washington D.C.-based immigrant-rights group, found that 45 percent of Hispanic voters in Florida are very concerned over the noncitizen voter purge.
What were saying is that going after U.S. citizens with Hispanic and Haitian last names and potentially disenfranchising them is not the right way, said Jose Suarez, communications director for 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, one of the groups that sued over the purge. The state has to find a better way.
The labor union sued after the names of two of its members who are citizens came up in an earlier list of potential noncitizens. Four other groups joined the lawsuit; Zloch also ruled Thursday that two of those groups did not have the legal grounds to sue.
The state and the coalition had settled other parts of the lawsuit last month.
On the remaining portion of the lawsuit, the coalition had argued that the purge has had a chilling effect on voters and required the groups to divert resources toward identifying citizens wrongly identified on the states list.
But Zloch said none of that outweighed Floridas interest in maintaining the integrity of the Nov. 6 election.
The state, he ruled, has a compelling interest in ensuring that the voting rights of citizens are not diluted by the casting of votes by noncitizens.
Ooos! Comment correction:
Liberals lose lawsuit to keep illegal voters on voter rolls.
But PA will still have the dead voting multiple times.
FL is known for this also. You have to request to have dead people removed. A friend of mine, many years after her grandparent died, was made to jump through hoops to have him removed.
The only thing that keeps thousands of dead folks from voting here are our photo ID laws. Thank heaven that was put in years ago. The slavish MSM here (the Tampa Times is one of the very worst in bias) complains bitterly about it regularly, but it’s been law for many years.
Yea, but at least when you wheel in the stiff, they will ask for a picture ID. Of course, even without the ID being produced, the stiff will get a ballot.
Just finding John Doe and purging him is a small step in the attempt to truly clean up politics.
Did John Doe get listed in ... ohhh .. I don't know ... maybe 1999 ... or 2003.
Was John listed as D, R or I ?
Was John and all his compatriots from one county as opposed to another, or many ?
Was John a student.
How old is John ?
What I mean is ... it would be helpful to clean up Florida politics if a couple of hundred or thousand John Does, age 18 - 25 came from one county.
I never thought to notify the registrar but that November election, she was gone from our small town voting book in SW Pa.
Why spend hundreds of millions on congresses, senates, governors, a president, when we could just have a judge tell us what we can and can't do?
MD doesn’t have ID laws.
Every election, thousands rise from the Baltimore cemeteries and vote.
“Of course, even without the ID being produced, the stiff will get a ballot.”
Unless the stiff is a Republican.
They’ll just get a post-mortem beatdown from the Barack Panthers.
We need to end the NVRA or water it down so much that it no longer takes states out of action. TX lost its redistricting due to “racism”, yet Illinois gets a pass. This law is outdated and dumb.
He's been voting Democrat ever since.
I firmly believe that every death certificate issued should have a copy sent to the local/state registrar of voters.
I think that’s probably what happened in my case, but I wasn’t paying too much attention to ANYthing those days.
Just how does a labor union have “standing” to sue?
What great news!! We must keep fighting the voter fraud of the DEMS!
That is why electing honest folks to the position of Supervisor of Elections in each Florida County is so very important! I hope ALL Florida voters will help elect the best person in their particular FL county!
Voters in Orange County have the chance to elect Dan Fanelli as their Supervisor of Elections on November 6th! My hubby and I know Dan personally, and he will make sure Orange County voters have fair and honest elections!
Please give your support to Dan here: http://www.ocfordan.com/
Please read below!
Orange County Voters need to elect Dan Fanelli as their Supervisor Of Elections!
NEWS RELEASE Oct 2, 2012
Attorney General, Election Commission Receive Charges of Criminal
Violations of Fla. Statutes by Orange Election Supervisor Bill Cowles
WINTER PARK, FLA The offices of Florida State Attorney General, Florida Election Commission, Florida Division of Elections, and Commission on Ethics are all in possession of charges that Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles has more than a half-dozen violations of state statutes dealing mostly with the retesting of the countys ballot-counting machines, which tabulated the wrong ballot totals on the pre-Primary evaluation.
Daniel R. Fanelli, who is running against Cowles in the coming November elections, filed the charges this week with the various state agencies.
Fanellis complaint includes charges that Cowles:
· Failed to publicly notice the retesting of machines that failed the recent Logic & Accuracy test on Aug. 1, and failed to publicly notice the retest 48 hours in advance; · Failed to appoint a Canvassing Board Member to attend the retest;
· Allowed only a technician and two of the technicians assistants to be present during the retest;
· Failed to notify the public or the candidates that the retest was going to take place;
· Failed to complete the testing before voting began;
· Failed to allow Fanelli (the only candidate present) to verify the results of the unnoticed earlier test, or to visually inspect the required resetting of the voting machines (Fanelli was quarantined in a fenced area some distance from the machines, and was unable to visually witness the resetting or zeroing of the tabulating equipment, as guaranteed by Florida statutes. His requests to move closer to the machines being tested was denied by Cowles attorney, as witnessed by Dorothy Lambert);
· Failed to comply with Florida Statutes by willfully not complying with the provisions above.
Chapter 104.051 of the Florida Statutes: (1) Any official who willfully violates any of the provisions of this election code shall be excluded from the polls. Any election official who is excluded shall be replaced as provided in this code. (2) Any official who willfully refuses or willfully neglects to perform his or her duties as prescribed by this election code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
It should be noted that Cowles complied with the applicable statutes to notice the August 1 L&A test (the same test where the machines failed), so there is no question that he has knowledge of the statutory provisions. Cowles has been the Orange Supervisor of Elections for 16 years, thus, he is well aware that testing must be noticed in advance, that a member of the Canvassing Board must be present at the testing of the tabulating equipment, that the public and others must be noticed and that any candidate is allowed to view the resetting of the tabulating machines. It appears possible, or even likely, that Cowles willfully and knowingly disregarded the Florida Statutes during the last election. The failed test could have been done in July, instead of waiting until August 1, just three days before early voting would begin for the August 14 election.
Cowles actions may have jeopardized the integrity of our elections and violated the public trust. By not noticing the required retest, it appears Cowles was attempting to protect his reputation or that of his office by avoiding the publicity that would result from failing such an important test during an election year, or simply that he is ignorant of the statutory requirements of his office.
Fanelli: If the current Supervisor of Elections cannot administer a test of only approximately 650 ballots without multiple errors, how can we have confidence that under his supervision it can accurately oversee a countywide election of more than 650,000 registered voters in 227 precincts?
When the Aug. 1 test failed, Cowles had insufficient time to schedule the retest, which by law, must be properly noticed and completed before early voting started on August 4. However, the Canvassing Board did not meet until August 6 to review and approve the retest results, and then zero the tested machines to ensure the 650 test votes were not included in the actual election results.
Fanelli is a 1978 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, served honorably in the Navy for 20 years (8.5 years active duty, 11.5 years in the Naval Reserves), became a pilot for Northwest Airlines (was the Captain of a flight diverted on approach into Washington, D.C. during the 9-11 terrorist attacks), and was a Congressional Candidate against Alan Grayson in 2010.
(Plus, in the Age Of Barry, labor unions reign supreme)
Monroe County's part in the Florida voter purge of 2012 has ended, says Elections Supervisor Harry L. Sawyer Jr.
"Unless we hear from someone who says he or she is not a citizen, we're not removing anyone else from the voting roll," Sawyer said Monday.
"We do have a clear understanding of the National Voter Registration Act and we have to conform to it," Sawyer said. "We are not going to break the law even if the governor thinks we should."
A list sent out by Gov. Rick Scott's administration in May notified Sawyer that four people on Monroe County's voting roll might not be U.S. citizens. The statewide list of about 2,700 names was compiled from state drivers-license records of non-citizens.
"I didn't think four names out of nearly 50,000 voters in Monroe County was too bad," Sawyer said. At press time, Sawyer's books showed 48,155 registered local voters.
Sawyer sent certified letters to each of the four, asking them to clarify their status. One person responded that she is not a legal citizen. That person was dropped from the roll.
Florida officials are now seeking to compare thousands of more names from the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles' non-citizen roster against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's immigration database.
Federal officials refused, saying Florida needs to provide more specifics before receiving unfettered access to the national database. Monday, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to demand access.
In turn, an assistant U.S. attorney general said the Department of Justice plans to sue Florida for violating national law on voting rights by attempting to purge voting rolls too close to an election.
"The voting roll should be clean and we do our best," Sawyer said. "But we have to make sure that we don't take good names off the roll."
With the Aug. 14 primary and Nov. 6 general election nearing, Sawyer said, "Our office is in election mode. We're not going to do anything major other than new registrations and address or name changes."
"We're not going to get too excited about what's going on in Tallahassee now," he said. "We worry about Monroe County."
The state's overall list sent out last month "was old and not accurate," Sawyer said. "It has problems."
State officials have said they expect local elections supervisors to handle the investigation into suspect registrations. A former police officer, Sawyer said he not about to launch an inquiry "based on information when you tell me it's not that good."
"I know probable cause when I see it," he said," and it has not arrived."
Sawyer, a Republican retiring after this term, said state officials have not pressured him to pursue any investigation.
But staff at the main Monroe County elections office went in one recent morning to find its fax machine clogged by "40 to 50 faxes" from a South Florida Tea Party group "demanding" that Homeland Security open its database.
The forms -- "a stack a half-inch thick," Sawyer said -- were identical except each had a different sender name. There were no addresses to know if they are Monroe County residents.
"It bothered me because our office has no authority to demand anything of the federal government," Sawyer said.
Ron Labasky, general counsel to the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, said most elections offices have halted work on the state purge.
"Most counties got from one to four or five names," from the state list, Labasky said Tuesday. "The more populous counties like Miami-Dade and Hillsborough got more."
When "a significant number" of voters from the state list turned out to be legal, most offices have stopped pursuing it "based on lack of quality information," he said.
unfortunately, the names on the ballot are not checked for eligibility. EVERY federal office requires the person to be a US citizen. NO candidate has had this verified... or the further requirement for POTUS (natural born citizen)
although illegals cannot vote... they have no problem running for office