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League of Women Voters of Collier supports "voter purge"

Matt Grant

League of Women Voters of Collier supports "voter purge"

CREATED Jun. 2, 2012

NAPLES - A non-partisan voter education group is throwing their support behind Florida's so-called "voter purge" - if, they say, it's done legally.

"If you're not a citizen," said Vi Steffan, the president of the League of Women Voters in Collier County, "according to our constitution you really can't vote."

Months before the November election, the state under Gov. Rick Scott, is trying to prevent non-citizens from illegally voting.

Using Department of Motor Vehicle records, the state has identified around 27000 voters as suspicious.

Steffan says, if done legally, her group would support the purge.

"If it's legal and it's fair," she said, "than we'd support it."

But the US Department of Justice is raising questions saying Florida failed to tell the feds what they were doing. They also say the purge violates the Voting Rights Act.

"What could this mean for the upcoming November election?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.

"Quite frankly I don't know," said Steffan.

Critics accuse the state of unfairly targeting minorities and say records being used to identify non-citizens are outdated - something that concerns Steffan.

"Once someone fills out that record indicating they are or aren't citizens," she said, "if they do become citizens thereafter then that record is not updated" until its renewed.

Meaning, she says, the state could be working off old information.

In a statement to CNN, the state's Division of Elections says they are just trying to prevent voter fraud.

"We are only concerned about identifying ineligible voters," the statement said, "and making sure they can't cast a ballot."

"Do you think it will be worked out before November?," asked Grant.

"We certainly hope so," said Steffan. "But you never know."

The Justice Department also expressed concern the purge is taking place 90 days before an election.

Florida has a primary in August and that short time-frame, they say, might not be enough time for someone taken off the rolls to prove citizenship.

Matt Grant