Governor makes rounds of morning news shows to defend purge and lawsuit
In a series of back to back interviews on morning cable news and radio drive time stations today, Florida Gov. Rick Scott defended his decision to sue the federal government Monday for failing to provide access to the federal immigration database that could help the state sort out which voters on its rolls are not citizens.
"Look, the debate's over. We know we have almost 100 individuals that are registered to vote that are non U.S. citizens. Over 50 of them have voted in our elections. I have an obligation to enforce the laws of our land. You don't get to vote in Florida if you are a non U.S. citizen,'' he told CNN anchor Christine Romans on the morning show Starting Points.
"The Homeland Security has been stonewalling to give us the database we're entitled to. We have been asking for months -- make sure we do it the right way -- so we are put in a position where we had no choice but to sue Homeland Security to get that database to make sure your right as a citizen is not diluted by somebody that's a non U.S. citizen illegally voting in our state."
Romans then pressed him. She said the federal government says the state cannot "infringe on the rights of a citizen's right to vote" by going after non citizens. She noted that the federal government has said it is prepared to give the state access to the database when it provides the necessary immigration information, which the state has failed to provide.
Scott avoided an answer. "Christine, here's what we know. We know that individuals are voting in our state illegally. They're not U.S. citizens. We know the best database is the SAVE database. We've asked for it for months from Homeland Security. We want to work with Homeland Security to get it. So we've done all the right things. We are put in a position where we don't have a choice but to sue them to get the database that we're entited to to make sure U.S. citizens votes are not diluted."
Romans: "Are you purging your voter rolls right now?"
Scott: "No. Here's the way the process works. If there's critical evidence that somebody is registered to vote that's not they get sent a letter. They get 30 days to respond. They respond. If they don't respond they get taken off the rolls but if they show up to vote, they get to vote provisionally."
When Romans pressed the point about the state faiing to provide the information necessary to access the SAVE database, Scott said: "We've done everything the right way. For whatever reason, they've decided not to give it to us...We were put in a position where we didn't have any choice."
He denied the purge is an attempt to remove Democratic voters.
"This is not a partisan issue,'' Scott said. "This is an issue I want, all of us want, to have every U.S citizen to participate to vote...but not U.S. citizens. That's illegal."