(International Business Times) — Florida state officials will continue their quest to purge purportedly ineligible people from voter-registration rolls, a representative of Secretary of State Ken Detzner said Saturday, in defiance of objections from the U.S. Justice Department and county officials who say the policy violates two federal voting laws.
On Thursday, T. Christian Herren Jr., the head of the Justice Department’s voting section, said the effort to remove voters appears to violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which outlaws discriminatory voting practices that disenfranchise minorities. On a list of almost 2,700 voters the state suspects are noncitizens, blacks and Latinos were disproportionately represented, according to an analysis by the Miami Herald, which concluded Democratic and independent voters are the most likely to be targeted.
Despite the warning, Detzner’s representative said on Saturday the state intends to go forward with its campaign. “We have a year-round obligation to ensure the integrity of Florida’s elections. We will be responding to (the Justice Department’s) concerns next week,” Chris Cate wrote in an email to Reuters.
Detzner has previously said his agency has identified 182,000 registered voters who are not citizens by comparing driver’s-license and voter-registration databases. Beginning in April, the state requested that county election officials contact almost 2,700 suspected noncitizens by mail. The letters said that those who failed to provide proof of citizenship within 30 days would be removed from the voter rolls.