Feds threaten to sue Florida if voter purge moves forward

Gov. Rick Scott defends voter purge

TAMPA - Governor Rick Scott appeared on national TV defending the "Voter Purge" program.

"If there's credible evidence that somebody is registered to vote that's not, they get sent a letter. They get 30 days to respond. If they don't respond, then there's a notice filed in the paper. If they don't respond then, they are taken off the rolls. But if they show up to vote, they get to vote provisionally and then we make sure. ... We want all U.S. citizens to vote.  We don't want non-U.S. citizens to vote," said Governor Scott.    

Florida filed a federal lawsuit to verify names of registered voters against immigration information kept by United States Homeland Security. Now the Department of Justice is threatening to sue too.

"Much of this controversy has evolved into each side, the Republicans and the Democrats, thinking about a close election and what that would mean if there were a court battle. What is at the center of a court battle, the integrity of the election system," said University of South Florida's Dr. Susan MacManus.

She says either way Floridians are caught in the middle of a partisan battle.

Florida's Secretary of State compiled the list of 100,000 voter names using DMV records. Critics say it targets minorities who tend to vote Democrat.

"The Supervisor of Elections throughout the state are somewhat caught in the middle," said Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Earl Lennard.

The national voter rights act says a purge within 90 days of a general election would break the law.  Lennard says they are doing regular roll maintenance for now.

"We are removing any voters from the rolls where information comes to us that's credible and reliable information that they are on the rolls inappropriately, illegally," he said.

Hillsborough County mailed 73 letters asking voters to prove they are citizens within 30 days or be purged from the rolls.  Lennard says only eight responded and of those, one non-citizen was removed.

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