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U.S., Florida battle over voter purge

June 12, 2012 at 11:39 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 12 (UPI) -- Florida has sued the U.S. government over its refusal to share a Homeland Security database the state says it needs to remove non-citizens from voter rolls.

But the U.S. Justice Department called on Florida to stop efforts to purge voter rolls of non-citizens, telling the state in a letter to "immediately cease this unlawful conduct," the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

"It appears that the state of Florida is unwilling to conform its behavior to the requirements of federal law," Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez wrote.

The letter said the Justice Department is seeking an enforcement action against Florida in federal court.

Just before announcing Florida had filed its lawsuit, Gov. Rick Scott told Fox News, "We want to have fair, honest elections in our state, and so we've been put in the position that we have to sue to get it."

In its lawsuit, filed in federal court in the District of Columbia, Florida says immigration law requires the federal government to have up-to-date immigration information that is available to federal, state and local government agencies.

Perez said Florida was in violation of a provision of the National Voter Registration Act that forbids purging voters within 90 days of an election. The Florida primary is Aug. 14.

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