Florida is always a state to watch in a presidential election, and now Governor Rick Scott is giving Democrats another reason to keep an eye on the Sunshine State.
Yesterday, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Florida to stop Governor Scott from going through with a plan to purge voter rolls of ineligible voters. The move came as Scott filed his own lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, alleging that the agency failed to give him the database he says he needs to carry out his plan.
The Justice Department claims the Governor is breaking the law by tinkering with voter rolls 90 days before an election (Florida has a primary on August 14th). Scott claims he is just trying to prevent voter fraud. But Democrats see something more nefarious. They allege the purge is an attempt to remove Democrats and Hispanics from the rolls in advance of the November election.
Democrats may have point: According to the Miami Herald, 87% of the 2,700 people on Scott's list are minorities, and, it turns out, there aren't many "ineligible voters" gaming the system. The Brennan Center for Justice has long said that one is more likely to get struck by lightning than encounter voter fraud. What Florida is likely to see--and it appears it is already seeing this--are disenfranchised voters who are afraid to exercise their constitutional right. The Brennan Center says that as of 2010, 37% of eligible citizens in Florida were not registered to vote.
For now, Scott's plan is on hold, thanks in large part to Florida's elections supervisors, who say they're not going to purge the rolls. Regardless, Democrats (and their lawyers) will be watching in November.