Federal Judge Rebuffs Justice Department, Says Florida May Correct Its Voting Rolls

June 28, 2012 - 5:06 AM

Rick Scott

Fla. Gov. Rick Scott (R) (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The Obama administration has encountered a setback in its attempt to stop Florida from removing non-citizens from the state's voting rolls.

On Tuesday, a federal judge rejected DOJ's argument that the National Voter Registration Act bars the removal of non-citizens within 90 days of a federal election. Florida's primary is on Aug. 14.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle, a Clinton appointee, refused DOJ's request for a temporary restraining order.

Hinkle agreed that federal laws are designed to block states from removing eligible voters close to an election. But he said those rules are not designed to stop states from blocking voters who should have never been allowed to cast ballots in the first place, the Associated Press reported.

“The court made a common-sense decision consistent with what I’ve been saying all along: that irreparable harm will result if non-citizens are allowed to vote," Florida's Republican Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement on his website.

"Today’s ruling puts the burden on the federal government to provide Florida with access to the Department of Homeland Security’s citizenship database. We know from just a small sample that an alarming number of non-citizens are on the voter rolls and many of them have illegally voted in past elections. The federal government has the power to prevent such irreparable harm from continuing, and Florida once again implores them to grant access to the SAVE database.”

Nearly a year ago, the state requested access to a citizenship database, maintained by the Department of Homeland Security, that would allow Florida to more accurately identify non-citizens who are registered to vote. To date, the federal government continues to block access to that database, preventing its efforts to ensure fair elections.