State releases list of 198 potential illegal voters
The state of Florida late Wednesday released a new list of 198 potential non-citizen voters, based on an extensive review of databases, including a citizenship database maintained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The list is sure to re-kindle a contentious debate about purging the rolls so close to a national election, but state officials have insisted they have a duty to remove non-citizens from the voter rolls at any time.
"We did exactly the right thing," Gov. Rick Scott has said. "I've not talked to one Floridian who says, 'I want my vote diluted by somebody that's never had a right to vote in our state. We're doing exactly the right thing. We believe in honest, fair elections."
A Miami Herald analysis of the 198 names shows that independent and Democratic voters were more likely to be flagged than Republicans, and that Hispanics were more likely to be on the list than non-Hispanic whites of African-Americans.
The majority of people on the latest list live in South Florida and have Hispanic surnames. They include 82 voters in Miami-Dade, 23 in Broward and 14 in Palm Beach County. Five people on the new list are from Pinellas County, four from Pasco and two from Hillsborough.
According to the state Division of Elections, 39 of the 198 have cast ballots in at least one election, including Frank Chorley, 66, of Tarpon Springs, an unaffiliated voter who cast one ballot, in the 2002 general election in Florida.
But the list is hardly original: Many of the 198 were on the original list of about 2,600 suspected non-citizen voters the state released several months ago.
Gov. Rick Scott's administration will separately forward the 198 names, with supporting documentation, to local supervisors of election, who must begin the process of purging, or removing, those individuals from the rolls unless they can prove their citizenship.
Some of them have been removed from the rolls already because they signed a statement acknowledging they are not U.S. citizens.