Florida Gov. Rick Scott scored a major victory against the Obama administration’s effort to block it from moving forward with plans to purge ineligible voters and non-citizens from its voter rolls Saturday.
The administration reversed itself and will now grant state authorities access to a Homeland Security Department citizenship database that will allow them to identify any non-citizens who may be on Florida’s voter rolls.
The agreement was made public in a letter to Gov. Scott’s office obtained by the Associated Press.
The decision comes in the wake of a federal judge’s decision last month to block the Holder Justice Department’s request to keep Florida from moving ahead with its plans.
Much like with Voter ID laws, top Democrats, including Attorney General Eric Holder, have come out strongly against Gov. Scott’s plan and similar plans by other Republicans.
Critics of the plan claim that purging the rolls will disproportionately affect minority voters. They also worry that purging Florida’s voter rolls just four months before the presidential election could make it harder to sort out mistakes for anyone who was not supposed to be taken off the rolls.
“Implementation of these additional discriminatory changes to Florida’s voting laws would be devastating for Black and other minority voters in the state,” Ryan P. Haygood, director of the Political Participation Group at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said in a statement released last month.
Observers say the Obama administration’s Florida decision could have an impact in other swing states such as Colorado that have made similar requests and possibly affect the outcome of the election.