The Florida League of Women Voters appears to be against any strenuous review of voting rolls with the intent of removing ineligible voters. Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner in 2013 began a process called “Project Integrity“. The idea was to check Florida voter rolls against the Department of Homeland Security SAVE database to insure those in Florida illegally do not vote. The Secretary’s office would verify someone is on the SAVE database and registered to vote in Florida, then that name would be sent to the local Supervisor of Elections (SOE), who would then re-verify if the voter is ineligible. The SOE would then remove that name from the voter rolls.
Project Integrity has been opposed by the Florida League from the start.
“Using the federal SAVE Program to conduct this ‘cleaning’ of the voter rolls is like taking a chihuahua on a hunting expedition — it is an inappropriate tool for this application,” says League President Deirdre Macnab. The League will be watching to ensure that the rights of eligible voters are not undermined. “We urge the Secretary’s office to look for ways to engage the state’s electorate and use the Department of State’s resources to make the voting process more accessible to citizens, rather than more strenuous,” Macnab concluded.
When Secretary Detzner stopped Project Integrity the League celebrated that decision stating “Florida voters should be delighted by this news.” We sent the following questions to Macnab:
- Should voter rolls be updated to remove all those not eligible to vote?
- Should voter rolls be updated to meet federal and state laws on voter eligibility?
- In a press release on suspension of Project Integrity the FL League of Women Voters stated “ Florida voters should be delighted by this news.”
Should illegal aliens be allowed to vote? If so, how many and why?
- Why do you use the word “purge” in your press release? Purge implies ethnicity. Ineligible means illegal. Does the League agree?
- Your presser states “Previous purges initiated by the Department of State have resulted in embarrassment for the state of Florida and have done nothing to make our elections process more secure.” What does updating voter rolls have to do with security? What are you referring to when you state “embarrassment for the state”. Please send me a poll or study that has this as a finding.
- You state, “Prior to the 2012 election, over 182,000 registered voters were inappropriately targeted by the state as potentially ineligible.” Where did you get this number?
- There are examples of people who are contacted and later retained on the voter rolls. Is it not proper for local Supervisors and the Secretary of State to check eligibility? Why is it inappropriate to look at potentially ineligible voters?
We received the following reply from Macnab on April 2, 2014:
Every voter takes an oath when they register to vote and pens their signature to the registration form. A new voter pledges that the information provided is both accurate and truthful information. To violate that oath is a felony, punishable by law. In the same vein, we should take the same precautionary steps to honor any voter’s oath before we consider removing them from the voter rolls. Unfortunately in Florida, we have seen instances where eligible voters are removed, with faulty and inaccurate voter list maintenance instituted by the Secretary’s office. The League believes only eligible voters should vote, and we have a process that is working: we know that the independently elected Supervisors of Election and their staff at the county level are working every day to ensure that lists are up to date and that only eligible voters are in fact voting. There are a number of news stories available if you Google this subject that can provide back up to the numbers you mentioned.
On that same day National Review Online reported:
North Carolina’s Board of Elections found that tens of thousands of registered voters from the state have personal information matching that of registered voters in other states, and appear to have voted in states other than North Carolina in 2012. In some cases, votes were cast under names of individuals who had passed away before Election Day.
The review searched databases in 27 other states and 101 million voter records for information such as matching names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers.
The review found that 35,570 North Carolina voters from 2012 shared the same first names, last names, and dates of birth with individuals who voted in other states. Another 765 Tar Heel State residents who voted in 2012 had the the same names, birthdays, and final four digits of a Social Security number as voters elsewhere.
The updating of voter rolls is the responsibility of each of Florida’s 67 Supervisors of Elections. Removing those ineligible to vote is a constant battle. Floridians would think that any effort to insure only those eligible vote and those eligible do vote would be a top priority of the Florida League of Women Voters. However, that may not be the case.