By Sheena Dooley | Iowa Watchdog
DES MOINES – Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Department of State have already removed more than 200 noncitizen voters from its registration list using the same federal database Iowa plans to use in vetting its list, according to a report by the Miami Herald.
Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, a Republican, repeatedly used Florida as an example when he defended the emergency rules he adopted in July to a committee of lawmakers. His rules, he said, were stronger and better protected the rights of voters. They also included more measure to insure citizens weren’t wrongly accused or purged from voter rolls.
The emergency rules allow his office to periodically check a federal immigration database with up-to-date statuses of immigrants, in an effort to remove noncitizens who registered to vote. Schultz adopted them in July without public comment or input from lawmakers, which drew heavy criticism and a lawsuit by two minority advocate groups. The groups have said Schultz is seeking voter fraud where it doesn’t exist.
He told lawmakers Tuesday his office identified more than 3,500 immigrants who lacked citizenship and were registered to vote. They were identified by comparing voter registration lists with outdated driver license records from the Iowa Department of Transportation.
In Florida, officials identified more than 2,600 potentially ineligible voters in April using the same method. As part of its legal settlement with a coalition of voter rights groups, the state agreed to run the questionable voters through the same federal database Iowa is seeking to use.
So far, the state has removed 207 noncitizen voters. A majority of the 2,625 people who were sent notices they would potentially be kicked off of voter rolls will receive another letter saying they will remain eligible to vote, the paper reported.
Iowa has yet to receive the federal database. Schultz is continuing his push to keep noncitizens from voting in November, despite the deadline for removing voters from the state’s rolls having already passed. He has said he expects to receive the database in the near future.