Legislators and election officials in Florida are making efforts to remove non-eligible individuals from voting rolls in the state. Many of these individuals, according to experts, are non-citizens who are not eligible to vote in elections. According to some sources, there may be up to 2,600 non-citizens on Florida’s voting rolls, and at least 115 in Palm Beach County alone.
However, not everyone agrees that the problem is as wide in scope. According to elections supervisors, many of the individuals that the Florida Department of State claims are not eligible have in fact become US citizens since they first appeared on the rolls and are therefore qualified to vote. Elections supervisors have requested more information before they send out letters and ask individuals to verify their citizenship.
Authorities check voter eligibility by checking the names on the voter registration database against the records kept by the Department of Highway and Safety and Motor Vehicles and other databases. While these records can help determine whether someone is a citizen, it is not a foolproof method. Someone who applies for a driver’s license as a non-citizen, for example, may eventually become a citizen and become eligible to vote without updating their Department of Highway and Safety and Motor Vehicles records. Department of Highway and Safety and Motor Vehicles records may in fact be a poor indicator of citizenship status, according to some experts, because the records are often dates since drivers only have to renew their license so often. Another problem is that the central voter database maintained by the Florida Division of Elections may contain errors and mistakes which make it even harder for authorities to determine how many voters and eligible to vote and how many are not. Some experts claim that there are over 8000 duplicate names on the central voter database, as well as the names of voters who have passed away.
In Florida, state residents who are US citizens, free of felony convictions, and are over 18 years of age can vote. When individuals register to vote, they must check a box proclaiming that they are eligible to vote. With this being an election year, there is pressure on authorities and election officials to clean up databases and lists of eligible voters to ensure that voter rolls are accurate and ready in time for the election. According to some sources, there may be as many as 1600 voters in question in Miami-Dade alone, meaning that cleaning up the rolls may be a challenge in time for November. Although the Department of Homeland Security database may be an accurate way to determine who is a legalized citizen and who is not, state officials have found that getting access to that database is difficult.