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Politics

Ken Detzner: No One Has Been Denied a Right to Vote

May 31, 2012 - 6:00pm

Secretary of State Ken Detzner defended efforts to remove noncitizens from the lists of Florida registered voters in the wake of the U.S. Department of Justice questioning the legality of the process.

As Floridas chief elections officer, I am committed to ensuring the accuracy of Floridas voter rolls and the integrity of our elections. It is my duty to protect the right of all eligible voters who are able to participate in the process, Detzner stated in a release Friday.

This is the security that voters and candidates expect from us in every election. The department will continue to act in a responsible and cautious manner when presented with credible information about potentially ineligible voters. No one who has the right to vote has been denied the opportunity to cast a vote, and as the secretary, it is my duty to ensure that remains the case."

Late Thursday, Christian Herren, the DOJs chief civil rights lawyer, gave Detzner until June 6 to halt the voter roll review that has drawn sharp opposition from Democrats and minority groups.

Herrens letter prompted the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections on Friday to advise supervisors today to put the review on hold.

Herren claims the effort may violate both the 1965 Voting Rights Act -- requiring federal preclearance before undertaking any changes in Monroe, Hillsborough, Collier, Hardee and Hendry counties, which have past experience with minority-voting problems -- and the 1993 National Voter Registration Act.

The voting registration act requires such reviews to be conducted more than 90 days prior to an election, in Herrens opinion. With the primary set for Aug. 14, the voter registration reviews should have ended May 16.

Detzner said that the state will respond to Herrens concerns next week.

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

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