Ignored by Obama DHS: Florida's Request for Citizenship Database to Review Voting Lists

By: Jim Turner | Posted: June 1, 2012 3:55 AM
 Mark Foley - myfloridahouse.gov

Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher, a Democrat, has chosen to defy the state Division of Elections' request to purge voting lists using a scant database.

Florida continues to push for the Obama administration to release citizenship information, as elections supervisors from two Democratic-leaning counties have decided not to check for suspected noncitizens on the roll of voters.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner wrote again to the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday in an attempt to obtain what would be more updated citizenship information than the state currently has. Detzner is trying to remove noncitizens from the list of registered voters.

“Federal law expressly requires your agency to respond to state inquiries to verify or ascertain the citizenship or immigration status of any individual within its jurisdiction for any purpose authorized by law,” Detzner wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

“Yet, after nine months of requests, we have not been granted access to that information or any other available DHS database.”

The state used Division of Highway Safety records, which lists an individual's citizenship status at the time they get a license. However, the records aren’t automatically updated the moment a person earns citizenship.

Because of the delay, the supervisors of elections in Hillsborough and Palm Beach counties have decided they would no longer use the state’s list of potentially ineligible voters.  

Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher told ThinkProgress that she wants more reliable and credible information before sending out letters asking any suspected noncitizen to prove their citizenship in order to remain a voter.

“I did not feel we had credible information and told them I wouldn’t send [any letters] until they could give me a better list,” Bucher told ThinkProgress.

Craig Lattimer, the Hillsborough County supervisor’s chief of staff, told the alternative weekly Creative Loafing that after six people questioned about their citizenship came to the office with either a birth certificate or passport, “it was obvious it wasn't very credible and reliable information, so we suspended any further action."

Detzner believes Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) database would give supervisors the credibility they claim to desire.

The decision by the two supervisors to stop checking names follows calls by Democrats and a number of voting rights groups -- Project Vote, Fair Elections Legal Network, Advancement Project, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, LULAC Florida, and the Hillsborough Hispanic Coalition Inc. -- to halt the review, claiming  the state’s effort to identify and remove people who may not be citizens violates federal law.

Secretary of State spokesman Chris Cate said from all the media reports about individuals being checked that are found to be citizens, there have been no reports of citizens being removed.

“We know that this process is making a difference and improving our voter registration roles,” Cate said. “We recognize some people have been unconvinced by having to contact their supervisor and say that they are a citizen. But you can’t deny the fact that the process is identifying noncitizens on the voter role and noncitizens are being removed.”

While the state attorney's office has reported that three people are being investigated for potential prosecution under the Third Party Voter Registration Act, no numbers were available Thursday for the number of noncitizens that have been removed from the list of registered voters.

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

Comments (18)

2:53PM JUN 1ST 2012
Apparently isn't not just Democrat Susan Bucher who is taking issue with the data.

Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent (R), Volusia County: Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall (R), Hillsborough County Earl Lennard (R), Pasco County: Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley (R), Marin County Supervisor of Elections Vicki Davis (R) are all saying the data is flawed so something is really wrong here.
8:04PM JUN 1ST 2012
My understanding is that nearly a majority of the 67 Supervisors have expressed concern.

At least for now, it looks like all the Supevisors will put a halt to purging until this gets resolved, either with DOJ or by a court.
9:45AM JUN 1ST 2012
A good question would be, how did people in Florida who were not United States Citizens, get to register to vote in the first place?
10:00AM JUN 1ST 2012
Judging by your first response below, it appears this comment is an after-the-fact comment to try and cover yourself, when the real desire is clearly expoused in your first response as being all about birther nonsense and blatant racism.
10:29AM JUN 1ST 2012
Nope, it was meant to be a part of the first one but forgot. All the Feds have to do is release the citizenship roles and everything is 'good to go' and this thing can be done with but I have a feeling this is going to be Gorefraud all over again.
11:40AM JUN 1ST 2012
Even if that violates federal law, correct?

I have a better solution - how about removing everyone from the rolls and only letting them back on when they can prove they're citizens (Republicans have to show long form) here just a few months before the election. Oh, and since Democrats have more registered voters, they also get to go first - that should about even out the voter suppression efforts.

Oh yes, Gorefraud - you mean when Jeb Bush purged the rolls last time, removing 7,000 legal voters, mostly Democrats, just before the election.

Yes, we know all about Republican dirty tricks that happened last time, only this time it's been expanded to include insane birther disorder, an unfortunate and sad terminal disease associated with Mad Hatter Tea Partiers.
11:55AM JUN 1ST 2012
Nope again. Talking about when Katherine Harris ordered a statewide recount only to have the Fla Supreme Court say it was OK for Al Gore to cherry pick select democrat stronghold counties to conduct his recount only he was to be spanked by the U.S. Supreme court who said he violated the equal protection clause.
2:10PM JUN 1ST 2012
Moot, non-issue. You can't really want to be basing your facts on Katherine Harris, can you?

Katherine Harris, who's efforts to purge illegal voters has been proven to have removed around 8,000 legal voters in 2000 before the election, including a disproportionate number of African Americans.

I was there in the room, listening to the Republicans, especially Mel Martinez discuss strategy as the Terry Lewis decision came down. Sure, let's make this about Katherine Harris - I know Katherine Harris - we can share first person stories, if you've even met her.

You seem to only like a court's decision when it goes your way, and demonize everyone when it doesn't.

You still haven't learned how to construct a logical argument yet - - when you do, let me know.
5:28PM JUN 1ST 2012
Yet again, facts seem to bother you. The U.S. Supreme Court said Al Gore's selective recount was a violation of the equal protection clause and that about wraps it up. You seem to prefer process over results.

As an aside, I bet it really bothers you that Barry Richard, a Democrat, represented President Bush in the recount. Again, it's a fact.
7:23PM JUN 1ST 2012
Besides not being able to make coherent arguments, you got your technical facts wrong once again - the U.S. Supreme Court said nothing about "Al Gore's selective recount" - it ruled that the Florida Supreme Court's scheme for recounting ballots was unconstitutional.

Bush v. Gore - 531 U.S. 98 (2000)
8:55PM JUN 1ST 2012
Which is the way Al Gore chose to do his 'recount'.
10:22PM JUN 1ST 2012
Still doesn't register, does it.

Your facts are generally as correct as your claim below that the President wasn't born in the U.S.
9:41AM JUN 1ST 2012
Non citizens voting for someone for president who was not born in the U.S. What could be more in line with the Democrat Party.
9:35AM JUN 1ST 2012

YESTERDAY, the Department of Justice notified the State of Florida to immediately stop this voter-purge because it is in violation of at least two federal laws, and there's not even a reference to that letter in this article a day later.

Either this is just playing typical partisan politics of "If I don't acknowledge reality maybe my readers won't know this has been already labelled illegal"; SSN doesn't have a reporting system capable of timely producing updated articles when new vital information appears the day before; or this is all just incompetence.

By the way, what DOJ gave Florida until June 6th to respond to DOJ's legal opinion that:

(1) The pruge of registered voters is violating Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act

(2) The purge violates the National Voter Registration Act

It's now becoming clearer every day that this is all about partisan voter suppression after all.

Way to go Susan Bucher! You've been right all along!
Pat Galbraith
6:08AM JUN 1ST 2012
Ignore? No, they've turned down the request. Their position that our request is an illegal use of Federal information. That should summarize the Federal position.

Maybe we should send armed "poll watchers" to be sure of proper voter participation. Apparently this is OK by DOJ standards.
9:55AM JUN 1ST 2012
Go ahead and send your armed "poll watchers" to the election in an attempt to intimidate and suppress voters, and I'll gladly come visit you in your new padded Mansion or iron castle home, depending on the degree of your disorder.

It appears that bullying (or gun threats) is the only response some of you know, just like Romney (a Presidential candidate after all) bragging and admitting yesterday to intentionally sending hecklers to Obama camp events to shout them down.

When are you going to grow up and get past 8th grade bullying - apparently a lost cause in Romney's case?

Perhaps it's time to send you to the Principal, and let him decide whether your actions deserve a new padded cell or iron-bar home.
5:38PM JUN 1ST 2012
What voter suppression? Non citizens are not allowed to vote in the first place, so nothing is being suppressed. They are not even supposed to be [on] the voting rolls. There are no valid arguments to continue to show them as legal voters. Once again, facts seem to be standing directly in your way and your attempts at 'tap dancing' are sad indeed.
9:36PM JUN 1ST 2012
Of course - once again denying court findings that burst your bubble of no suppression.

And of course, DOJ must be totally corrupt and wrong also - only you have the facts and the truth. It's called madness . . . in this case, Mad Hatter disease, just like your birther nonsense.

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