Florida GOP voter purge faces setbacks

Updated
 

Following up on Rachel’s segment last night, it was, to put it mildly, an eventful day in Florida yesterday, where Republican policymakers’ efforts to restrict 2012 voting suffered some key setbacks.

To briefly recap, GOP efforts, pushed by Gov. Rick Scott (R), have included cracking down on voter-registration drives, limiting the number of days available for early voting, and in the new push, taking away voting rights from eligible citizens while trying to purge non-citizens from the voting rolls. Yesterday, the Justice Department intervened on the most recent tactic.

The Justice Department sent a letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner Thursday evening demanding the state cease purging its voting rolls because the process it is using has not been cleared under the Voting Rights Act, TPM has learned.

DOJ also said that Florida’s voter roll purge violated the National Voter Registration Act, which stipulates that voter roll maintenance should have ceased 90 days before an election, which given Florida’s August 14 primary, meant May 16.

Five of Florida’s counties are subject to the Voting Rights Act, but the state never sought permission from either the Justice Department or a federal court to implement its voter roll maintenance program.

Update: msnbc published the Justice Department’s letter online here.

What’s more, around the same time as the DOJ’s intervention, a federal judge ruled against the state’s new restrictions on voter-registration drives, which is no small development, though the same court left intact Florida’s decision to narrow its early-voting window.

As if that weren’t enough, a county elections supervisor in Palm Beach yesterday rejected the state’s voter-purge list, describing the Scott administration’s information as “not credible.”

And bolstering Democratic arguments, Lenny Curry, the head of the Florida Republican Party, conceded on msnbc yesterday that his state’s voter purge is relying on flawed information, saying, “There are certainly some issues with the data.” Curry insisted, however, that the purge efforts continue anyway.

Taken together, it appears that Florida is once again ground zero for a systemic election year fiasco. Try to contain your surprise.

Rick Scott and Florida

Florida GOP voter purge faces setbacks

Updated