Jacksonville, FL - Florida is gearing up its efforts to clean the voter rolls of any non-citizens ahead of the 2014 election season, but we’ve learned that will come at a cost to you.
This is the second attempt at putting together a system to ensure only registered voters lodge a ballot- the first try in 2012 drew lawsuits and other challenges. Main concerns included that the check the state performed was through the DMV, which did not require new citizens to get a new license if they already have one, meaning legal citizens could have been deprived the chance to vote.
Florida has now won access to a federal database run through Homeland Security called SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements), which both local Supervisors and the state believe will be more accurate.
But running these screenings will be 50 cents apiece and checking all the extra files will mean new labor costs.
“How many people, how big are the lists- that’s how big of an impact it will make on our budget this year,” says Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland.
Holland says the first round of screening happens at the state level. The questionable names are then kicked down to the affiliated county, and it’s up to local elections offices to send out a certified request to present citizenship and check at least once more in SAVE to ensure anyone purged from the rolls is, in fact, not a legal voter.
“Everything is local, which means it will be funded by the city of Jacksonville,” he says.
Holland says it’s not yet clear just how much the total cost will be because that depends on the size of the list handed down from the state. To begin the purge, he says the state will only be looking at newly registered voters.
“We don’t anticipate large lists coming to us, we’re anticipating just a few names at a time,” Holland says.
But if this process runs smoothly, he wouldn’t be surprised to see the state expand the checks to the rest of Florida’s more than 11 million registered voters. He does not expect that will happen before the 2014 elections, however, because of time constraints.