Florida’s secretary of state has asked a federal judge to force President Barack Obama’s administration to comply with federal voting laws.
“We can’t let the federal government delay our efforts to uphold the integrity of Florida elections any longer,” Secretary of State Ken Detzner said in a Monday statement announcing a new lawsuit. “We’ve filed a lawsuit to ensure the law is carried out and we are able to meet our obligation to keep the voter rolls accurate and current.”
The lawsuit follows Detzner’s effort to make the federal government comply with a law that requires it to help states verify the eligibility of people to vote in state elections. Florida officials are concerned that up to 180,000 non-citizen residents are inappropriately registered to vote.
In kind, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division threatened to sue the state of Florida if it does not halt the voter identification program, saying the state has not cleared it with federal authorities as required under the Voting Rights Act.
“It appears that Florida has initiated a new program for systematic voter removal, which may ultimately target more than 180,000 registered voters,” wrote Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for civil rights, in a Monday letter to Florida officials.
Under Florida’s rules, the state can strike people off the rolls if they don’t confirm their citizenship after a multi-stage, public process. The process would be greatly improved and accelerated if the federal Department of Homeland Security would confirm the citizenship of people on the state’s voter rolls, Chris Cate, communications director for the Florida Department of State, told The Daily Caller in May.
“For nearly a year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has failed to meet its legal obligation to provide us the information necessary to identify and remove ineligible voters from Florida’s voter rolls,” he added.