BRADENTON – Last week, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner wrapped up his "Project Integrity Tour" in south Florida, capping off a five-city swing through the state with local election supervisors and local citizens. Detzner was selling the idea of using a federal entitlement database to scrub the voting rolls, telling Floridians it would not result in the same disastrous fiasco that marred the state's 2012 elections. The League of Women Voters wasn't buying the pitch.
Florida's track record of voter scrubs is one of the worst in the country, with eligible voters having been consistently removed and/or challenged at unthinkable rates. Dentzer wants to use the SAVE (System Alien Verification for Entitlements) database exclusively, even though other federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), use multiple databases in order to determine citizenship. LWV says that shouldn't fly.
"Using the federal SAVE Program to conduct this 'cleaning' of the voter rolls is like taking a chihuahua on a hunting expedition – it is an inappropriate tool for this application," says Florida's LWV President Deirdre Macnab. "The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has already warned that this database is not a foolproof means of verifying the voter rolls."
The LWV of Florida says it supports the state's 67 independently elected Supervisors of Elections and believe that their routine policing of their rolls are a secure process that does not needlessly risk taking away and eligible voter's possibility to participate in an election.
The League says it will be watching to ensure that the rights of eligible voters are not undermined.
"We urge the Secretary's office to look for ways to engage the state's electorate and use the Department of State's resources to make the voting process more accessible to citizens, rather than more strenuous," said Macnab.