Civil rights groups join battle over Florida vote purge
MIAMI, (Reuters) – Civil rights groups filed a legal challenge yesterday to Florida’s controversial effort to purge its voter lists prior to the November presidential election.
“The illegal program to purge eligible voters uses inaccurate information to remove eligible citizens from the voter rolls,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Other groups behind the lawsuit include the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the law firm Weil, Gotshal and Manges.
Supporters of Florida’s voter purge, which has been vigorously pursued under Republican Governor Rick Scott, say it is aimed at clearing voter rolls of non-citizens. But critics call it part of long-running Republican effort to deter minorities and the poor, who tend to vote Democratic, from casting ballots.
Florida, which President Barack Obama won by 2.8 percent in 2008, is expected to be a key swing state in the Nov. 6 presidential election.
The U.S. Department of Justice and Florida’s Department of Elections are already locked in a dispute over the voter list purge, which is alleged to have misidentified hundreds of possible non-citizens as illegally registered to vote.