Hispanic Voters Threatened to Be Purged from FL Voter Rolls

Florida Purging Latinos from Voter Rolls
Yeral Arroliga, 25, who told the Miami Herald that he is a U.S. Citizen who immigrated from Nicaragua in 1995, is among 198 people who are being listed as potential noncitizens. Mr. Arroliga told the Miami Herald that he has to produce proof that he is a U.S. Citizen within 30 days of receiving a certified letter from the elections board. He claims he already sent proof of U.S. Citizenship the first time the Florida board of elections put him on a list of ineligible voters earlier this year.

“It sounds like you have Big Brother watching over you,” Mr. Arroliga told The Herald. “I don’t know what’s going on.”

For Hispanic voters, the threat is real. On Monday, a report released by the Advancement Project found that of 2,600 voters who received letters from the state of Florida requiring them to prove that they were eligible to vote, 82 percent were Hispanics, African-Americans, and Asian-Americans. According to the Herald, 41 percent of the 198 people listed as potential noncitizens are Hispanic; 17 percent are black. A total of 58 percent of the people on the list are minority.

The U.S. Department filed a lawsuit against the State of Florida and the Florida Secretary of State alleging that removing voters from rolls 90 days before a federal election is a violation of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA). The Section 8(c)(2)A) of the NVRA reads as follows:

(2)(A) A State shall complete, not later than 90 days prior to the date of a primary or general election for Federal office, any program the purpose of which is to systematically remove the names of ineligible voters from the official lists of eligible voters.

According to the NVRA, voters can only be removed from the rolls 90 days prior to an election for federal office if the voter requests to be removed, if the voter is ineligible because of a criminal conviction or mental incapacity, or if the voter has died.

In June of this year, Judge Robert L. Hinkle of United States District Court in Tallahassee ruled that Florida could continue to purge voters within the 90 day period if they were found to be noncitizens. The Florida Secretary of State is being sued by nonprofit groups and a labor union alleging that Florida’s purging program is discriminating Hispanic and black voters. Florida Departement of State Communications Director, Chris Cate states that a hearing on this case is to be held on Monday.

According to the Florida Division of Elections, voters can legally be purged from the voting rolls under certain conditions including, “if the voter is ineligible.”

Under Florida law, a registered voter may only be removed from the rolls if he or she requests in writing to be removed, if a Supervisor of Election received notice from another state election official that the voter has registered out-of-state, if the voter is ineligible, or if the voter fails to respond to an address confirmation final and there is no voting or voter registration record activity for two subsequent general election cycles.

The compilation of Florida election laws reads that a supervisor of elections makes the final determination of a voters ineligibility. If a voter denies the board’s finding that he or she is potentially ineligible to vote, then the voter has a right to request a hearing where the evidence substantiating the voter’s claims can be presented.