Foreign citizens found on Florida's voter rolls

4:56 PM, May 9, 2012   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida - The Florida Division of Elections has identified about 2,600 foreign citizens on the state's voter rolls who appear to be registered illegally.

It's still early in the investigation but elections officials say some of the non-citizens may have voted in past elections.

The Department of State's Division of Elections has been taking a closer look at voter rolls over the past year with new help from a database at the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

That database includes details about non-citizens and is helping the Elections Division identify people who should not be voting.

Department of State spokesman Chris Cate says the division conducts another check when the name of a noncitizen turns up on both databases. Then it sends names to local elections supervisors, who have the power to remove someone from the rolls.

"The first group of names we came out with had about 1,200 individuals. Since that time we've added another 1,400 or so individuals and in the next couple of months I imagine there will be a few more because this is really helping us improve the accuracy of our voter rolls and we're really excited about this new avenue we have to improve our voter rolls," said Cate.

Supervisors are contacting suspected non-citizens and giving them 30 days to prove they're a U.S. citizen. If they can't, then they're removed from the rolls.

Cate says right now it's unclear if non-citizens voted in past elections.

"It's possible that some of them have been voting but we don't know to what extent at this point. We're really looking forward and making sure in future elections, particularly coming up this fall that we've got the best voter roll possible."

Non-citizens have a legal right to own a Florida driver's license, but they cannot vote. Anyone who lies about their citizenship on a voter registration form commits a third degree felony.

Voters facing expulsion from voter rolls can ask for a hearing to dispute the finding.

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