FELN’s Statement on DOJ Letter on Florida Voter Purging ProgramRelease Date: June 1, 2012, 10:58 am
FELN and DOJ Agree That Florida’s Voter Purging Program Violates NVRA
Washington, DC – Late Thursday night, the United State Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a letter to the Florida Secretary of State ordering the state’s elections division to cease its systematic program of purging potential non-citizen voters from the voter rolls. The DOJ stated that the voter purging program is impermissible under the National Voter Registration Act’s (NVRA) because the law bans systematic removal of voters for the voting rolls within 90 days of an election for federal office. Florida’s primary is scheduled for August 14, 2012. They also found that the program violates the Voting Rights Act because changes that affect voting laws must be submitted for review to the DOJ before they are enacted. Florida’s Secretary of State has until June 6 to respond.
Last week, the Fair Elections Legal Network (FELN), along with five other civil and voting rights organizations, sent a letter to the Secretary of State Ken Detnzer, asking him to cease Florida’s voter purging program because it violates the NVRA’s ban on the systematic removal of voters from the voting rolls within 90 days before an election. Moreover, the program places the burden of proof on the voter, who must respond within 30 days to a notice letter that could easily be lost, misplaced, or inadvertently ignored.
The following statement can be attributed to Fair Election Legal Network’s President Robert Brandon:
“Secretary of State Ken Detzner, after receiving our letter last week asking him to cease purging voters from Florida’s voter rolls, stated he believed the program did not violate the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). FELN is pleased that the Department of Justice agrees with our interpretation of the NVRA that requires any systematic program to remove ineligible voters from the rolls to be completed within 90 days of a federal election. Already, there have been several instances of voters incorrectly flagged as ineligible to vote through their faulty data matching program using outdated and error prone data from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) database and jury recusal forms. Secretary of State Ken Detzner should immediately suspend this flawed program and restore the voting rights of anyone that has been purged from the rolls using this faulty data matching program.”
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The Fair Elections Legal Network (FELN) is a national, nonpartisan advocacy organization whose mission is to remove barriers to registration and voting for traditionally underrepresented constituencies and improve overall election administration through administrative, legal, and legislative reform.