JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's Florida vs. The Feds. The State is suing the federal government in an effort to keep illegal voters from casting ballots. The Feds are fighting back with a plan to ask the court to block the state from removing potential non-U.S. citizens from the voter roll.
Secretary of State Ken Detzner says the database, known as "SAVE," would quickly clean up Florida's voting roll. He said, "This is the one single database in Washington that can help us absolutely validate non-citizenship."
Detzner says the Department of Homeland Security is required by law to allow the state access to it. The state began negotiating for use of the database last year, but with no luck. Finally, they got tired of waiting, and in May, launched its voter purge efforts using a list of names from the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles.
But that list was flawed and dozens of natural born citizens, some of them war heroes, were caught in the fray.
Rob Smith, the Chairman of the Florida Democrats, says the governor's efforts are politically motivated. "He is trying to gin up his base again, get the tea party excited. He's taking on the federal government. It's a state's rights issue."
While Democrats and Republicans, and the State and the Feds, battle over what to do next. The purge has been put on hold, putting Florida's Supervisors of Elections in a bind, including Jerry Holland here in Jacksonville.
Holland said, "Having heard that we have 3600 in Duval County, we are concerned. We want to make sure our rolls are accurate. But we can't do anything until we get the list. And they can't send us a list until the Department of Justice and Homeland Security verifies it."
Holland says many of the illegal voters may have been registered by mistake.
A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security says DHS doesn't comment on pending litigation.