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Oct 18 / Project Vote

Fla. Assures Court that No Eligible Voter Will Be Purged Before Election

Washington, DC – Concerned that the state of Florida’s program to remove alleged non-citizens from the voter rolls could wrongfully remove eligible citizens, two voters on that list and a coalition of voting rights groups—including the Project Vote, Advancement Project, Fair Elections Legal Network, LatinoJustice PRLDEF and SEIU Local 1199—filed a motion earlier this month for a preliminary injunction to halt the program. The District Court denied that motion, and the rights groups appealed.

On October 16, Judge Rosemary Barkett, Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, declined to expedite the appeal, stating that she was relying on Secretary of State Detzner’s assurance, which she quoted in the order, that “there is no chance that a citizen will be erroneously removed from the voter rolls before Election Day.”

“We’re very gratified that, in the State’s own words, there is ‘no chance’ eligible citizens will be removed before the election,” said Catherine M. Flanagan, Director of Election Administration for Project Vote. “The 11th Circuit relied on this representation when it decided not to speed up the appeal process, and we hold the State to its word that eligible Florida voters no longer face the possibility of being erroneously purged this close the election.”

In September, the State agreed to a settlement requiring it to instruct supervisors of elections to send letters to the thousands of citizens that were incorrectly sent the original purge letter and inform them that they have not been removed from the voter rolls and remain registered to vote. The Department of State also agreed to reinstate voters who were inappropriately removed from the rolls and to instruct supervisors of elections not to force voters to use a provisional ballot based on their appearance on the purge list. Now, the state is assuring the appeals court that no additional citizens will be wrongfully removed from the rolls before Election Day. READ MORE

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