ByÂ DARA KAM, Palm Beach Post
TALLAHASSEEÂ â€” Elections officials are trying to scrub voting rolls of at least 2,600 foreigners — including 115 in Palm Beach County — who they believe are not eligible to vote, including some who cast ballots in previous elections.
But elections supervisors say many of those targeted by the Florida Department of State have already become citizens since being placed on the ineligible list distributed to local elections officials last month.
Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher said she has questions about the list and is refusing to send out letters to the residents asking them to prove their citizenship status until she gets more information from Secretary of State Ken Detzner’s office.
Detzner created the list after matching the state’s central voter registration database with driver’s license records maintained by the Department of Highway and Safety and Motor Vehicles, which tracks whether someone is a citizen when they apply for a driver’s license.
Detzner’s office then double-checked those records with other databases already in use to verify that registered voters are eligible.
Individuals over 18 years old who are Florida residents, are U.S. citizens and have not committed felonies or have had their rights restored are eligible to vote in the state. People must check a box swearing they are eligible to vote when they register.
Escambia County elections supervisor David Stafford, the president of the state association of elections officials, said he was told that three voters on his list were flagged as possibly ineligible.
As required by state law, Stafford said he sent letters to those individuals notifying them that their voting eligibility was in question. One of the three responded and said he had already become a citizen, Stafford said.
Other supervisors “have had similar experiences where either through their own research or through the voter they have received information that they have become naturalized citizens or they are citizens,” Stafford said.
But Bucher said motor vehicle department records are dated, including some on Palm Beach County voters who were flagged but whose last interaction with the driver’s license agency was more than a decade ago. She said she’s concerned about voters who may not receive the notices and is convinced many on the list have become citizens.
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