Necessary Hygiene
The 1993 National Voter Registration Act requires Florida’s action.

Governor Rick Scott (R., Fla.)


Deroy Murdock

As Chris Cate, spokesman for Florida’s Department of State, told me Thursday morning, a subsample of 2,600 of these 182,000 possible aliens yielded at least 500 now-naturalized citizens as well as, so far, 104 confirmed non-citizen registered voters, 56 of whom feloniously have voted. If this sample is representative, it extrapolates to 7,280 registered non-citizens, 3,920 of whom may have voted and may do so again. Given that George W. Bush won Florida and thus the White House by just 537 votes, Americans should rail against the possibility that more than seven times as many aliens could be poised to elect the next president of the United States.

Rather than encourage Florida to fix this mess, the Obama administration has sued the state to stop it from complying with relevant federal laws. Team Obama claims that Scott’s statewide electoral-hygiene campaign violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act, although that law covers only five of Florida’s 67 counties. DOJ’s actions are akin to placing an entire extended family on parole because five of its members have rap sheets. In his letter to Justice, Secretary of State Detzner explained: “As for the role of the supervisors of elections in Florida’s five covered counties, they are simply administering a law that the Department of Justice has duly precleared. See § 98.075, Fla. Stat.”

The Justice Department also says Florida cannot clean its voter rolls within 90 days of a federal election, namely the August 14 congressional primary. The November 6 general election, in turn, is within 90 days of the primary, further precluding voter-list maintenance, according to Obaman legal interpretation.

This led Secretary of State Detzner to write to DOJ:

The practice DOJ now appears to be endorsing is as follows: the federal Department of Homeland Security may, for months, violate federal law and deny Florida and other states access to the SAVE database so that the federal Department of Justice may then assert that the resulting delays in a state’s election-integrity efforts violate the time periods established in another federal law.

Notwithstanding all the whining about Jim Crow, no one will lose ballot access without enjoying multiple opportunities to prove eligibility. As Governor Scott told National Public Radio’s Michel Martin on Wednesday: “If you even are asked [about citizenship], you have 30 days to respond. There’s a public notice in the newspaper. And then on Election Day, if you go vote, and they have taken you off the roll, you still get to vote. You just vote provisionally.” Eligible citizens will have their provisional ballots counted.

“We have a year-round obligation to assure that the voter rolls are accurate,” says Chris Cate of Florida’s Department of State. “It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s our statutory responsibility. And at no point in the process of us identifying non-citizens do we look at race or party. The only criterion that concerns us is whether someone is an ineligible voter. If so, that person needs to be removed from the voter rolls. We don’t want an ineligible voter to neutralize the vote of an eligible U.S. citizen.”

Congressman Thomas J. Rooney (R., Fla.) captured the frustration many Floridians feel as the Obama administration labors feverishly against ballot integrity. As Rooney wrote Attorney General Holder on June 6: “While your department should be working with Florida to stop voter fraud, you are instead actively working to keep noncitizens — who have committed a felony — on our state’s voter rolls.” 

— New York commentator Deroy Murdock is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.