TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida plans to resume its effort to purge noncitizens from voter rolls in the next couple of days.
The federal government has unexpectedly decided to allow the Florida Department of State to access the citizenship database. Florida had been seeking that permission for the past year.
Secretary of State spokesman Chris Cate says the decision will allow Florida to check whether some registered voters in Florida are actually noncitizens and therefore banned from voting in elections.
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Critics have argued the voter purge effort appears to target voters who lean Democratic, but Cate rejects that notion.
"This is the right course of action because it means having accurate elections. There's nothing partisan about this process. This is strictly about improving the integrity of Florida elections."
A federal judge recently ruled Florida did not have to stop its voter purge of noncitizens.
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More than 11 million people are registered to vote in Florida. The Secretary of State's office previously put together a list of 2,700 suspected noncitizens but it contained a lot of errors and supervisors of elections refused to use it.
Cate says Florida is ready to move ahead with the voter purge effort.
"We've got the commitment from the federal government that they are going to be working with us. We're going to be finalizing an agreement hopefully very early this week and as soon as we have that agreement we're going to be checking names on the voter rolls, making sure noncitizens cannot cast a ballot and dilute the vote of a rightful Florida voter."
Cate says getting access to the federal database, called Systematic Alien Verification Entitlements, will help Florida compile a more accurate list.
First Coast News