Access to a database of non-citizen residents has been granted to Florida by the Department of Homeland Security according to an article in the Tampa Bay Times.
Florida Governor Rick Scott’s administration has been pushing for access to the Department’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements, or SAVE, database for months, and says he wants to use it to purge voter lists of ineligible non-citizens and reduce voter fraud.
According to an AP article on Post-Bulletin:
The decision could give a boost to what has become a broad push by Republicans in several states to prevent voter fraud by expunging what they say are thousands of ineligible noncitizens from voter lists.
Florida is not the first state to gain access to the SAVE database. The letter granting Florida permission to use it, dated July 9, says that five counties in Arizona are now doing so. Colorado has also sought access to the database as part of an effort to cleanse voter lists spearheaded by its Republican secretary of state, Scott Gessler.
Gessler has been working to purge the Colorado voter rolls of as many as 5000 suspected non-citizen voters along with Attorney General John Suthers. They have recently sent letters to the Department of Homeland Security requesting access to the SAVE database. According to a 9NEWS article:
Gessler’s opponents, largely from the political left, charge that he is out to purge voting rolls, and that his actions will disenfranchise legitimate voters and intimidate minorities into staying away from the polls.
“I want to make sure we have accurate voter rolls,” Gessler said. “I’m not interested in throwing people in jail. I’m not interested in a witch hunt.”