By Marianela Toledo | Florida Watchdog
MIAMI— Buoyed by the latest judicial decision supporting his cleanup of the voter rolls, Gov. Rick Scott reiterated his commitment to safeguarding the integrity of the ballot box.
“The county supervisors of elections are responsible for their local voter rolls. They’re elected, and every citizen will decide if they’re doing their job properly,” Scott told reporters during the launch of the Univision/ABC television network Wednesday. “We fought to make sure they had the right to the SAVE database so they can look and make sure they have fair, honest elections in their area.”
On Oct. 4, federal judge William Zloch of the Southern District in Fort Lauderdale dismissed charges that the state violated federal law by seeking a list of noncitizens who might be registered to vote.
The Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements list, obtained from the Department of Homeland Security, contains the information of noncitizens. It is suspected that some 200 could also have found their way onto the voter rolls.
The U.S. Justice Department and advocacy groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Service Employees International Union aimed to prevent the voter purge, arguing that it could not be done within 90 days of an election.
“Certainly, the National Voter Registration Act does not require the state to idle on the sidelines until a non-citizen violates the law before the state can act,” wrote Zloch in his opinion.
“We want fair, honest elections. Wars are fought over the right to vote,” said Scott. “As you know, the 2000 presidential election in Florida was decided by only 500 votes. So every vote counts.”
A representative from the ACLU was not available for comment, but the group has become more open to admitting voter fraud is a problem in the Sunshine State.
“If legislators really want to attack voter fraud, they have to go after absentee ballots, which we know has fraud in Miami-Dade County and across the state,” ACLU of Florida spokesman Ronald Bilbao told Florida Watchdog last month.
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, of District 18, voiced her support for measures to ensure the integrity of the state’s voter rolls, including newly passed voter ID laws.
“I believe that my vote is sacred, I believe in the integrity of the ballot and I am not in any way disturbed, angered or feel discriminated against because someone asked me for my photo id to prove that I’m Ileana Ros-Lehtinen,” she told Florida Watchdog.
The Florida congresswoman said that the same ID requirement applies to her husband, whom she describes as a “Yankee-doodle American.”
“Don’t buy into this line that because you are asked for an ID you’re being discriminated against,” said Ros-Lehtinen. “I, very firmly, am against all of these groups who pretend to be safeguarding my vote and are saying ‘they’re discriminating against you because you’re a naturalized, Hispanic American’— no.
“When they ask me for my ID, they want to make sure that my vote is sacred, it has the integrity, that it is me who is voting and not someone else,” said Ros-Lehtinen.
Double-voting — an issue Scott has not addressed specifically — was uncovered this week in videos released by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, showing Obama for America campaign workers helping residents register to vote in two states.
Research by the Pew Center shows about 2.75 million Americans are registered to vote in more than one state.
Similarly, Allied Strategic Consulting, a consulting firm helping to register voters across the state, was fired by the Republican Party of Florida after reports surfaced of suspicious voter-registration forms being submitted to local election officials.
Contact Marianela Toledo at Marianela.Toledo@FloridaWatchdog.org.
Florida Bureau Chief Yaël Ossowski translated this article.