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The Reviews Are In: Two Thumbs Down For Rick Scott's Voter Purge

Tallahassee, FL – The reviews of Rick Scott’s second attempt to purge Florida’s voter rolls are in: two thumbs down. From Miami to Washington, newspapers are decrying Rick Scott’s voter purge for targeting minority voters and creating yet another hurdle to voting. 

Rick Scott and his allies were warned before the last election that these wrongheaded policies would wreak havoc on Florida’s elections — but they did it anyway, and thousands of citizens were inaccurately targeted as a result. Rick Scott is doubling down on a bad idea, and every Floridian will suffer.


See for yourself:

Another voter purge [Miami Herald Editorial] “Hang on to your proof of citizenship. You may need it if the state’s latest effort to purge voter rolls is as inept as the last one. In 2012, Gov. Rick Scott and Secretary of State Ken Detzner launched a similar campaign that became a target of ridicule. The data they provided to county elections supervisors was riddled with errors and inaccuracies…Obviously, non-citizens don’t have the right to vote. And supervisors need to perform regular maintenance of voter registration lists to keep them up to date. But it is a disservice to the people of Florida to create the fear that the voter rolls are full of non-citizens. The Justice Department should keep an eye on efforts to suppress voting rights in Florida.”

Chan Lowe: Florida voter purge [Sun Sentinel] “Nobody questions that it’s a good idea to safeguard the integrity of the voter rolls. The problem comes when you use that laudable goal as a pretext to tilt the table in your political party’s favor. The last time Florida Republicans tried this gambit, it was just a few weeks before a major election, and it was handled so clumsily that local county election supervisors rebelled — even the ones in Republican counties. The focus was put on minorities, on the tacit assumption that they tend to vote Democratic…If you have to rely on tricks like voter purges, Draconian voter I.D laws, and early-voting curtailment to stack the deck because your governing philosophy doesn’t win voters’ hearts and minds, then maybe you should think about retooling your positions.”

Latest voter purge must avoid last year’s fiasco [Sun Sentinel Editorial] Gov. Scott would do well to remember what happened last year, after state elections officials sent county supervisors a list of 182,000 suspects, a list that proved wildly inaccurate. Among those who received a letter demanding they show proof of their citizenship was a decorated, 91-year-old World War II veteran from Davie, who produced the proof so that he could continue to vote. As similar stories poured in, state officials shrunk the list of suspects to 2,600 and still didn’t get it right. Even more citizens came forward with the state’s threatening letters, as though they were some kind of criminal…What happened last year was an embarrassment worthy of ridicule on comedy shows.”

Governor to launch new purge of Florida voter rolls [Miami Herald] “[…]Similar searches a year ago were rife with errors, found few ineligible voters and led to lawsuits by advocacy groups that said it disproportionately targeted Hispanics, Haitians and other minority groups. Those searches were handled clumsily and angered county election supervisors, who lost confidence in the state’s list of names. ‘It was sloppy, it was slapdash and it was inaccurate,’ said Polk County Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards.”

Florida’s Scott Rolls Political Dice With New Voter Purge [Bloomberg] “Republican Governor Rick Scott is restarting his high-profile purge of suspected noncitizens from Florida’s voting rolls in a move to appeal to core supporters that risks losing the backing of key swaths of the electorate. […]it risks reviving memories of polling-place snafus in 2012 and alienating the state’s growing Hispanic population. The purge, which began before the 2012 election, stalled when several U.S. citizens were targeted and a Latino-advocacy group sued, claiming discrimination…Critics say the laws are veiled attempts to suppress voter turnout among Democratic-leaning demographic groups, including Hispanics.

Ruling Revives Florida Review of Voting Rolls [New York Times] “[…] the decision puts Florida back in the cross hairs of a divisive partisan battle over voting rights. ‘Governor Scott seemingly is bent on suppressing the vote in Florida, with his latest move coming as an unfortunate result of the recent Supreme Court decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act,’ said Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, who was highly critical of the voter review last year. Mr. Scott risks angering voters with perhaps little payoff, political strategists said.” 

Florida governor plans to resume voter purge effort [Reuters] “Florida Governor Rick Scott is planning a new effort to purge non-U.S. citizens from the state’s voter rolls, a move that last year prompted a series of legal challenges and claims from critics his administration was trying to intimidate minority voters. Voter protection groups identified a number of errors in the state’s attempt to identify people who are not American citizens on Florida’s voter lists months ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November 2012.”

Rick Scott’s administration planning to draw up another list of possible non-citizen voters [ABC Action News] “When Governor Rick Scott’s administration set out to purge the Florida voter roles of felons and foreigners last year, it ended with lawsuits, hurt feelings and exposed very few illegal voters. Get ready for round two…The initial list of suspected non-citizen voters provided by the state had over 28,000 names.  After local election offices started contacting people on those list they found most all of them were U.S. Citizens.  ‘There was no backup documentation of where these names came from. So when we found that it was a bad list, we stopped the investigation,’ said Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections spokesperson, Gerri Kramer.”


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