Monday, June 4, 2012

Hold Your Purge

Florida’s wholesale purge of the voter rolls has been put on hold.

Florida elections supervisors said Friday they will discontinue a state-directed effort to remove names from county voter rolls because they believe the state data is flawed and because the U.S. Department of Justice has said the process violates federal voting laws.

Late Thursday, the Department of Justice sent Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner a letter telling him that an effort launched by Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s administration last year to remove the names of people believed to be non-citizens from voter rolls appears to violate at least two federal voting laws. The federal agency gave Detzner until Wednesday to respond.

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.

That’s a start. My guess is that by the time we get around to the primary in August, it will still be unresolved and Florida will have yet another confused and confounding election. It’s a part of the state along with summer humidity and big bugs.

Stepping forward to defend the GOP tactics of purging voter rolls that just happen to be disproportionately made up of minorities and other groups that tend to vote for Democrats, Michael Steele, former head of the RNC, said that there’s no racism involved. At all.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

It’s just the most amazing coincidence that the majority of people purged from the Florida voting rolls were from constituencies that vote for Democrats. Who could have known?