Voter Purge Settlement Protects Right to Vote for Florida Voters
Today, a settlement was announced in the lawsuit initiated by Advancement Project, Fair Elections Legal Network, Project Vote, SEIU Local 1199 and LatinoJustice PRLDEF on behalf of several organizations and two Florida voters against the state of Florida challenging the legality of the voter purge program the state began earlier this year. Under the agreement, the state will reverse the effects of an illegal purge program, which resulted in many eligible voters being purged, and widespread confusion among the voting public.
“Today is a victory for Florida voters that were improperly purged from the voter rolls or intimidated by a threatening letter that required them to prove their citizenship or lose their right to vote,” Ben Hovland, senior counsel for the Fair Elections Legal Network. “Florida’s faulty purge program has exemplified the risks posed to citizens’ right to vote by sloppy list matching programs. Hopefully this settlement will ensure that all eligible Florida voters that want to cast a ballot this November will be able to.”
Today’s settlement requires the Florida Department of State to instruct supervisors of elections to reinstate voters who were improperly removed from the rolls, and to inform the more than 2,600 citizens who were sent purge letters that they remain registered and may vote in November. The Department of State also agreed to instruct supervisors of elections that voters may not be denied a regular ballot because their name appeared on the purge list.
The state has chosen to characterize these steps as ones it had already planned to take. That is not correct. It is only as a result of this litigation that the state has committed to take these steps.
“This settlement ensures that thousands of eligible Florida residents—many of whom are minority voters and new citizens—will not be wrongfully turned away when they show up on November 6th seeking to do their duty as citizens in our democracy,” says Catherine Flanagan, director of the Election Administration Program for Project Vote. “We hope this suit will deter Florida from trampling on the voting rights of its residents in the future.” READ MORE