In a one-two punch, the Department of Justice has followed yesterday’s federal injunction against Florida’s voter suppression law with an order for the state to stop purging their voter roles. Florida’s effort to eliminate voters is problematic in many ways.
First of all, it violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which protects minorities. While Latinos make up 58% of the proposed ‘ineligible’ voters on the list, only 13% of Florida’s active voters are Latino. Democrats and independents are most likely to appear on the list while Republicans and non-Hispanic whites are least likely. In reality, many of the voters that the state is flagging as non-citizens actually prove to be citizens.
Secondly, the state is violating the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, which governs voter purges. The removal of ineligible voters by states must be completed 90 days before a general or primary election for federal office, but the Florida primary is scheduled for August 14th.
Thirdly, because Florida has a history of violating minority-voting rights, the state is required to submit any changes that affect voting to either the United States District Court in Washington, D.C. or to the U.S. Attorney General for review. In a letter to the state, T. Christian Herren, Jr., of the Justice Department, wrote, “Our records do not reflect that these changes affecting voting have been submitted.”
Although state officials have repeatedly insisted that their efforts are in line with all federal laws, the Miami Herald reports that when the list of supposedly ineligible voters was submitted to county elections supervisors, the supervisors “found the data and methodology to be flawed and problematic.”
The state is reviewing the letter from the Department of Justice before deciding on their response. They have until Wednesday of next week to notify the DOJ of their plan of action. If Florida does not cease its activities, the DOJ indicates it will take further action.