If you want to see why hyper-partisan state election officials cannot be trusted to oversee elections, look no further than the latest press release from Florida's top election administrator, Republican Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who once again is making allegations of voter fraud that he cannot back up.
Detzner he asserts in the top paragraph in this release that his office has identified 207 non-citizens on state voter rolls as if it were a confirmed fact. It states: "TALLAHASSEE –The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program (SAVE) database as well as personal admissions from illegally registered voters have confirmed 207 non-citizens have been on Florida’s voter rolls."
But later the release says that information will be turned over to county election supervisers--who actually run Florida's elections--to verify those voters' status. It states: "When a supervisor of elections receives information from DOS that a registered voter is a potential non-citizen, the supervisor must begin the statutory notice and removal process."
This bureaucratic language is dense and intended to hide a disturbing reality: Detzner is putting the partisan conclusion there are newly confirmed illegal voters ahead of the actual legal process that makes that determination.
That is what GOP propaganda looks like in 2012. This spring he claimed 180,000 non-citizens were on Florida's rolls.
This guilty-until-proven-innocent tactic is also surfacing in other states. Two right-wing groups, True The Vote and Judicial Watch, have been sending threatening letters to local election officials across the county and so far have sued the states of Ohio and Indiana, claiming in these states and in more than 100 counties that too many registered voters are on official voter rolls.
They are making these allegations under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which, on one hand requires state motor vehicle and welfare agencies to offer voter registration, and on the other hand establishes procedures for officials to remove people from the rolls if they move, die or become ineligible to vote (such as being convicted of a felony).
What True The Vote, Judicial Watch--and Florida's Detzner--are conveniently overlooking is that the NVRA requires voters' names be left on official lists until a series of efforts are made to contact them over two federal election cycles--four years--to verify their status. That part of the law (Section 8) is meant to protect voting rights, not prematurely revoke them.
The latest noise from these partisans should be seen for what it is: more GOP attempts to disrupt voting in a presidential year.