Rubio: Florida Illegal Voter Purge Not Targeting Hispanics

Wednesday, 13 Jun 2012 10:59 PM

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Florida Sen. Marco Rubio – considered near the top of Mitt Romney’s vice presidential short list – took a stand on Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s effort to purge the voting rolls of illegal voters, saying that he doesn’t view it as an effort to target minorities.

Scott’s effort has sparked a Department of Justice lawsuit and complaints that Hispanic voters are getting targeted.

"I wouldn't characterize it as an effort to purge Latinos from the voting rolls," Rubio told a group of reporters at a Bloomberg News-hosted breakfast in Washington. His comments were reported in Politico.

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"I would characterize it as twofold. No. 1 is, I think there's the goal of ensuring that everyone who votes in Florida is qualified to vote. If you're not a citizen of the United States, you shouldn't be voting. That's the law. And, I mean — I mean, what's the counter to that, that we're willing to tolerate 100 illegal voters on our rolls? So I do think that — I mean, why — how could anyone argue against a state identifying people who are not rightfully on the voter rolls and removing them from the voter rolls? They shouldn't be voting."

Rubio also said it’s a “debate about tactics. And I'm not familiar with all of the intricacies of how the program is being implemented. And if there's a better way to implement a way of identifying voters that don't belong on the — on the rolls in a way that's not disruptive and so forth, you know, I think we should consider that.

“But the goal of purging voters from the rolls that are not qualified to vote, I mean, I don't — I just don't understand. What is the argument in favor of leaving people on the rolls that aren't qualified to vote in the United States? We know of at least 100 people in Florida — and that — they just began the process."

"And so, you know, I just don't think that's the choice. I don't think an order not to kick off a single legal voter we have to somehow tolerate the existence of 100, 200 or even five illegal voters. I just don't think that's a valid choice," he said.

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But Rubio did add that the proximity to the election, combined with this being a presidential year, has made the issue hypercharged politically.


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