CommunityThe Bullpen

Florida Elections Supervisors Shut Down Rick Scott’s Voter Purge

According to the Palm Beach Post, all 67 elections supervisors in Florida’s 67 counties have suspended the voter purge planned by the Governor, Rick Scott, and the Secretary of State’s office. The general counsel for the elections supervisors recommended a suspension after an order from the Justice Department to halt the voter purge, citing violations of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act.

The Justice Department letter and mistakes that the 67 county elections supervisors have found in the state list make the scrub undoable, said Martin County Elections Supervisor Vicki Davis, president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections.

“There are just too many variables with this entire process at this time for supervisors to continue,” Davis said.

Ron Labasky, the association’s general counsel, sent a memo to the 67 supervisors Friday telling them to stop processing the list.

“I recommend that Supervisors of Elections cease any further action until the issues raised by the Department of Justice are resolved between the parties or by a Court,” Labasky wrote.

The Governor could still order a continuation of the purge; the Secretary of State’s office promised an answer by June 6. But at that point, I’d have to think the Justice Department would seek an injunction. And the elections supervisors clearly aren’t interested in getting caught in the middle of that fight.

At least some of the original 2,600 voter names submitted to the supervisors by Secretary of State Ken Detzner have already been processed, and letters sent to the individual voters saying they have 30 days to prove their US citizenship or risk being thrown off the voter rolls. According to Martin County Elections Supervisor Davis, voters will only get purged if there is “credible and reliable information” of voter ineligibility beyond the list of names sent by Detzner. If individuals do not contact their elections supervisor they will not automatically get purged, Davis says.

So the system did work here. Media learned of Rick Scott’s effort to replay Jeb Bush’s successful voter purge in 2000. They raised awareness among the public, and elections supervisors had to answer questions. Activists got involved at the state and national level. Elected officials, namely Democrats in Florida’s Congressional delegation, got involved. The Justice Department was spurred to action. And the elections supervisors shut down the scheme.

This isn’t the end of the fight – Scott Administration officials are giving every indication that they want to keep going with this. But so far, a rerun of the Florida voter purge of 2000 has been avoided.

Previous post

Turnout Key Factor in Scott Walker Recall in Wisconsin

Next post

Florida Elections Supervisors Shut Down Rick Scott’s Voter Purge

David Dayen

David Dayen