Your letter suggests that Florida’s efforts to identify and remove non-citizens who have illegally registered to vote violate the NVRA because we are now within ninety days of a federal election. Even if the ninety-day provision were read to provide for this result—that is, prohibiting a state from removing non-citizens from the voter rolls three months prior to a federal election—nothing in the NVRA would prohibit Florida from simply gathering information about persons who have illegally registered. That information, even if not used to remove improperly-registered persons now, could be used after a federal election to remove those persons from the rolls or to prosecute them if they illegally voted.
Finally, even assuming the NVRA’s ninety-day provision applies to the type of individualized assessment at issue here, Florida has entered that period only because DHS has repeatedly ignored or rebuffed Florida’s efforts to gain access to the SAVE database—access that was necessary for successful and accurate completion of Florida’s efforts to ensure the integrity of its voter registration rolls. For your reference, I have attached to this letter a chain of emails dating back nine months, which demonstrates DHS’s refusals and delays in this regard.
By denying Florida access to the SAVE database, DHS appears to have violated federal law, which provides that states may use the SAVE database “for any legal purpose such as … voter registration,” and that DHS “shall respond to an inquiry by a … State … government agency … seeking to verify or ascertain the citizenship or immigration status of any individual within the jurisdiction of the agency for any purpose authorized by law, by providing the requested verification or status information.” 76 Fed. Reg. 58525, 58527 (Sept. 21, 2011); 7 U.S.C. § 1373(d).
In sum, the practice DOJ now appears to be endorsing is as follows: the federal Department of Homeland Security may, for months, violate federal law and deny Florida and other states access to the SAVE database so that the federal Department of Justice may then assert that the resulting delays in a state’s election-integrity efforts violate the time periods established in another federal law. This hardly seems like an approach earnestly designed to protect the integrity of elections and to ensure that eligible voters have their votes counted.
It is an unfortunate but now undeniable fact that Florida’s voter rolls include individuals who are not citizens of the United States. The Florida Department of State has a solemn obligation to ensure the integrity of elections in this State. Permitting ineligible, non-citizen voters to cast ballots undermines that mission and erodes the justified faith the electorate has in the fairness and reliability of the electoral process. To enable the Department of State to meet its responsibility to enforce both federal and state law, and to determine what further action may be necessary, please provide us with answers to the following questions by June 11:
(1) Does the DOJ agree that the Department of Homeland Security has a legal obligation to provide Florida access to the SAVE database?
(2) Is it the DOJ’s position that the NVRA prohibits any actions by Florida to identify and remove non-citizens from its voter registration rolls between today’s date and the date of the November 6 General Election?
(3) If not, what steps does the DOJ believe Florida may take to identify and remove non-citizens from its voter registration rolls between today’s date and the date of the November 6 General Election?
(4) If the DOJ’s position is that the NVRA prohibits Florida from removing non-citizens from its voter registration rolls between today’s date and the date of the November 6 General Election, is it the DOJ’s position that the NVRA prohibits Florida from taking action to even identify non-citizens on its voter registration rolls for later removal and, if warranted by the facts and law, prosecution by appropriate law enforcement authorities?
Secretary of State
cc: Attorney General Pam Bondi
Elise Sandra Shore, Esq.
Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2012/06/rick-scott-fights-doj-says-its-protecting-illegal-voters-more-than-legal-ones-undermines-constitutio.html#storylink=cpy