Governor Rick Scott has put the Department of Justice on notice that the State of Florida intends to fight the fed's decision that purging Florida's voter rolls of non-citizens is illegal. In fact, the governor plans to continue to purging non-citizens.
Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel and other local supervisors have drawn a line in the sand, demonstrating that they are not going to kowtow to the governor.
"It's frustrating we're put in this situation," said Ertel, "that we are the ones having to contact our neighbors and say, 'Some other person's database says you may not be a citizen and we're the ones having to ask you if you are, even though we were the ones standing in the back of the room when we registered you to vote!'"
Ertel said Gov. Scott's office dropped the ball when they took state drivers license records as infallible and ordered him and other county election supervisors throughout the state to question and remove registered voters who appeared to be non-citizens, according to those records.
Ertel and other supervisors question the timing of the Governor's Office as well as the means.
"What happens at citizen ceremonies is, we are there in the back of the room registering voters, and brand new citizens run to the back of the room and register to vote. What they don't do is run to the DMV to update their records and let the DMV know they are now citizens," Ertel said.
Ertel tweeted a picture of himself with the father of a man who made the state's list of potential non-citizens. A passport, dating back six years, quickly cleared that up.
Jonathan Gebon was born in the United Kingdom but is indeed a U.S. citizen who even voted in 2008, but DMV records haven't been updated and don't reflect his true status.
The Governor's Office on Wednesday sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice demanding answers as to how it can possibly order them to stop making sure all voters are legitimate and even challenging the feds for breaking their own laws.
Ertel said he's not going to completely stop purging, but he's not going to do as the Gov. Scott says either. He said he is going to protect voters' rights the right way, adding "the federal government has their interpretation, the state has theirs, and until they figure it out, we're going with exactly what the law says."
Ertel said that means he will continue to check names but will not remove anyone from voter rolls, without that person having come forward and admitted they are a non-citizen. He said the DMV records can't be trusted.
The Governor's Office gave the DOJ until Monday to respond. Ertel said the Governor's Office said it has asked the Department of Homeland Security for access to their database for months, but their request has been denied.