MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida's voter purge of roughly 200 ineligible voters from state voter rolls may continue, a federal judge ruled Thursday. Judge William Zloch said Florida has a "compelling interest" to make sure non-citizens don't cast ballots.
The decision came in a case brought by several voting rights groups and the Obama administration. They argued the purge violated a federal law against removing voters within 90 days of an election. Judge Zloch said the law "does not require the state to idle on the sidelines until a non-citizen violates the law before the state can act."
The state's original purge list contained more than 2,600 names, but was filled with inaccuracies. A revised list of 198 names of possible non-citizens was produced after the state compared records with a Homeland Security Department citizenship database.
With Florida once again serving as a crucial swing state, voter registration is being watched very carefully. One of the groups that lost the case said the judge's ruling could prevent legitimate votes from being cast.
"Removing individuals this close to the election could jeopardize the right to vote for eligible citizens that ended up on the voter purge list due to faulty matching programs," said Ben Hovland, senior counsel at the Fair Elections Legal Network.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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