The Department of Justice appears to be headed for a showdown with Florida over its effort to seek out and purge all noncitizens from state voter rolls, according to the Miami Herald.
Federal authorities had given the state until today to respond to a letter demanding that the effort be stopped and informing the secretary of state’s office that it might be a violation of at least two voting laws.
Florida intends to respond, but will ask for clarification about how federal laws are being violated, the Herald reported Tuesday.
“Our letter will address the issues raised by DOJ while emphasizing the importance of having accurate voter rolls,” Chris Cate, a spokesman for Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, told the newspaper.
Cate added that the state disagrees with the federal government and plans to contest the order to cease its voter purge because “we know we’ve been acting responsibly.”
In the meantime, the purge effort has been put on hold in nearly all of Florida’s 67 counties. According to the Herald, opponents of the effort are upset because most noncitizens being targeted are minorities. The newspaper said some legal voters have also been caught up in the purge because of outdated data.
In its letter to the state last week, the Justice Department’s lead civil rights voting attorney, T. Christian Herren Jr, cited possible violations of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the 1993 National Voter Registration Act.
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