Florida Scanning Driver's License Lists for Possible Ineligible Voters

By: Jim Turner | Posted: May 12, 2012 3:55 AM
Must Show ID to Vote Sign
More than one of every 100 registered voters in Florida, many in predominately Democratic Miami-Dade County, are being scrutinized for their citizenship and eligibility to cast a ballot.

The review is part of an ongoing operation the Division of Elections has undertaken with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles that is checking the citizenship of 180,000 registered voters.

Already county elections supervisors within the past month have been directed to personally check the status of 2,600 registered voters -- nearly 2,000 in Miami-Dade, nearly 300 more in neighboring Broward County.

“It’s definitely a big job, but it’s our job to make the rolls as accurate as possible,” said state elections spokesman Chris Cate on Friday.

There are more than 11 million people registered to vote in Florida.

The two state agencies have been checking the eligibility of voters for more than a year by comparing databases to check on residency status updates.

Cate noted that many of the 180,000 may have become United States citizens since receiving a license.

Highway Safety records individuals' citizenship status at the time they get a license, but doesn’t automatically update the information the moment a person earns citizenship.

“If your last interaction was with Highway Safety five years ago, you would be within that 180,000,” Cate said. “But you could have become a citizen in that time, you would have the right to vote and be completely fine.”

Under the 2010 Real ID Act, motorists must also provide documents on their residency status upon receiving or updating their driver’s license or state identification cards. Noncitizens legally in the country may receive a license.

County supervisors are directed to contact those flagged as suspected noncitizens by the initial state review. County elections officials have 30 days to verify or disprove an individual’s citizenship.  

Those found to not be citizens are removed from the voter rolls.

Anyone removed could face a third-degree felony charge for registering to vote, as each individual must check a box declaring he or she is a U.S. citizen on the form.

It is a further felony to illegally vote in Florida.

So far, state elections officials haven’t heard of anyone being removed through this process.

Cate said the first 1,200 names were sent to the county elections officials in early April, meaning the first confirmation of illegal voters should be made soon.

Baylor Johnson, spokesperson for the ACLU of Florida, called the method being used to check the names as unreliable, noting that among the list is a U.S. service member from Pensacola now serving overseas.

“In the state’s zeal to justify a political voter suppression agenda, they have already forced a citizen soldier defending our country to have to prove that she’s an American citizen,” Johnson responded in an email. “In the coming days as more Floridians find their citizenship called into question by a flawed list, who knows who else will be found?

“Supervisors of elections have a duty to ensure that elections are secure, but they also have an obligation to prevent the tragedy of citizens who are registered to vote from being denied their voice in our democracy by a clerical error. We hope that elections supervisors realize that if they rely on this faulty purge list alone, they won’t be protecting democracy in Florida, they’ll be damaging it.”

The Associated Press also reported that among the first list of names sent to elections supervisors was a Hillsborough County man who first registered to vote in 1959.

The state elections partnership with Highway Safety is a little more than a year old.


Elections officials have been working for years with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Department of Corrections and Department of Health to purge voters from their lists due to death or imprisonment.

Cate said the state has been unable to team with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to compare databases.

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

Comments (12)

9:57PM MAY 12TH 2012
Of course, this is just pure concidence that this is all occurring in a Presidential toss-up state just months before the election.

Wonder how many Republicans in Miami-Dade will be on that list?

I'd really like to see a break-out by county - that might provide a little more insight in to how "fair and balanced" this effort actually is.

Looks like another lawsuit to me - maybe, if this is shown to be intentional discrimination based on age, race or national origin, someone will even have the insight to try a Title VI Civil Rights suit going after the actual net worth of those who are trying this intimidation. That might help put a stop to this apparent nonsense.
7:28AM MAY 12TH 2012
Keep digging and not only purge the name from the rolls but issue an arrest warrant for voter fraud.
10:27PM MAY 12TH 2012
Where's there's real demonstrated fraud, I agree. Nan Rich probably said this betterearlier tis week than I would:

"I certainly support an initiative that would remove people from the voter rolls that are not eligible to vote," Rich said. "But we've had so much effort to suppress the vote. It would be nice if we put this much effort into making sure those who are eligible to vote can vote."
10:43PM MAY 13TH 2012
Rich is full of it.......have her show one example of voter suppression in Florida..........
11:04PM MAY 13TH 2012
As U of F political scientist Daniel Smith said in today's Miami Herald: "This is more an effort to constrain voter participation under the guise of fighting fraud.”

Smith pointed out that the data clearly show the election law changes disproportionately affect black and Hispanic voters.

Where's your expertise in this?
6:25AM MAY 12TH 2012
I just heard it on the radio that Every 6 months, you should compare auto insurance rates with several auto insurance companies to find the best deal, also he was saying something about "Clearance Auto" who provide insurance for dollars. find online
Pat Galbraith
6:13AM MAY 12TH 2012
Does anybody remember 2000 and the election fiasco in Dade, Broward and Pal Beach Counties? The final margin was less than 600.

If even 10% of the questionable registrations are bogus, where does that leave us?
10:12PM MAY 12TH 2012
Yes, but the voter disenfranchisement and ballot errors resulted in lost DEMOCRATIC votes far exceeding any lost Republican votes.

Yes, there was a problem, and that (plus a partisan Supreme Court) lost the election for Al Gore.

Some Republicans are again doing everything they can to try and steal another election in advance and knock out legitimate voters.

We'll see how real a problem this really is (i.e. actual registered voters clearly not American citizens and commiting voter fraud by having voted - not just dropped because the state couldn't verify their status after having originally registering them in the first place.)
10:40PM MAY 13TH 2012
Wanting only legitimate legal voters allowed to vote is stealing an election?.......Which Country did you migrate from?
11:00PM MAY 13TH 2012
As U of F Daniel Smith said in today's Miami Herald: "This is more an effort to constrain voter participation under the guise of fighting fraud.”
Nancy Flores
11:19AM MAY 14TH 2012
Guise? The Federal Government is STILL paying out to DEAD people. Why is it a GUISE? If the dang Government would update their records every YEAR it would not be such a hard task! But since our Govt. is SOOOOOO organized, and does their jobs sooooooo WELL......... Need I say more??? If companies ran their businesses the way our Govt. runs things there would BE no businesses!
10:56PM MAY 14TH 2012
And your expertise in voter registration and electoral administration is exactly what - zero?

Have you ever even worked in a election campaign?

Oh yes, on that last point - who is it that doesn't want a national ID card, nor the cross-matching of records on births, deaths and immigration, gun owner and the like - oh, that's right, it's you guys and gals who have made sure and tied government's hands on tracking such data. . . . don't throw flames when you live in gunpowder cellars.

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