More questions raised about Florida's effort to purge noncitizen voters

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -  

More questions have been raised about the list of names the State of Florida distributed to county elections officials in an effort to purge noncitizens from its voter rolls after a University of Central Florida senior born in Canada said he had been registered to vote while he was a student at a South Florida high school.

"They just give [you the registration form] and you fill it out," said Vijay Choksi, 22, of Palm Beach County. "I did fill it out [but] I haven't voted."

Choksi, who is not a United States citizen, has worked alongside state legislators and planned to work on the re-election campaign of U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta.

"We  can sit here all day and discuss what kind of intent that Governor [Rick] Scott has but from the outside looking in you can only go so far," he said.

On Tuesday, one day after Rick Scott announced Florida had no choice but to sue the United States Department of Homeland Security to obtain a database needed in its review of noncitizen voters, the United States Department of Justice sued Florida and accused it of being in violation of the Voting Rights Act and other federal voter laws.

Scott had repeatedly accused President Obama‘s administration of "stalling" by not releasing the database he said would have helped identify noncitizens from its voter rolls.

"The debate is over," Scott told FLDemocracy in an interview Monday. "We clearly have proof that non-citizens are voting in our elections. As your governor, I have an obligation to enforce the law. And, I intend to do that."

Last week, Scott, who asked the Department of Homeland Security for its federal citizenship database, defied a United States Department of Justice order to stop the state's purge of its voter rolls after government officials said it was illegal.

County elections officials suspended the purge and said they would not follow through with the state's efforts until its legality could be resolved.

"We, in fact, need credible and reliable information," said Susan Bucher, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections. "That's what the law requires. And, I did not believe that this was credible information."

Florida has flagged 2,700 potential noncitizen voters and sent the list to county elections supervisors, some of whom found the data and methodology to be flawed and problematic.

The list of potential noncitizen voters – many of whom have turned out to be lawful citizens and voters – disproportionately hit minorities, especially Hispanics.

When asked again about what recourse he had if Florida election supervisors did not purge voter rolls, Scott said "all elected officials will do the right thing."

"We know individuals are voting in our elections that don't have the right to vote. That's wrong. It's illegal. It's a crime," he said. "Everybody wants to make sure that U.S. citizens vote in our elections. Noncitizens don't vote in our elections. So, I'm very comfortable that the right thing will happen here."

On Friday, the American Civil Liberties Union announced it was suing Florida to stop its controversial program designed to purge noncitizen voters from the rolls.

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