POLITICS
07/31/2012 08:08 pm ET

Florida Voter Purge: DOJ Papers Claim Process Violates Voting Rights Act

Florida Gov. Rick Scott announces a state of emergency for most of Florida's Gulf coast due to heavy rains and flooding cause
Florida Gov. Rick Scott announces a state of emergency for most of Florida's Gulf coast due to heavy rains and flooding caused by Tropical Storm Debby during a news conference at the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee, Fla. Col. David Brierton, commander of the Florida Highway Patrol, right, listens. Tropical Storm Debby drenched Florida with heavy rains, flooded low-lying neighborhoods and knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses as it lingered off the state's coast Monday. (AP Photo/Bill Cotterell)

Florida's voter purge efforts are facing a fresh federal challenge.

The Justice Department filed court papers on Friday alleging that the Sunshine State's actions violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act. At the heart of the impending legal battle is Section 5, which would require submission of "citizenship list maintenance practices," the Miami Herald reports.

Back in early June, the Justice Department issued a warning letter, charging that the Florida's activities are "different from the benchmark practice currently in force" within the Voting Rights Act. But the state moved forward with its plan to weed out non-citizens, with Gov. Rick Scott (R) calling the process necessary "to have fair elections."

Later that month, a federal judge refused to stop Florida's voter purge, noting that no federal laws prevented the state from making last-ditch efforts to eliminate non-citizens from its voter rolls. By mid-July, Republicans had scored some federal support with approval to use a law enforcement database when questioning individuals' right to vote.

As for the public, a June Quinnipiac University poll found that three out of five Florida voters were behind the purge plan. The state's primary election will be held on August 14.

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