In response to the Justice Department's threat to sue the state of Florida over its move to purge names from its voter lists, Gov. Rick Scott says "we don't have a choice but to sue them to get the database we're entitled to, to make sure that U.S. citizens votes are not diluted."
Florida, a key voting state in the presidential elections later this year, is in the spotlight for spearheading the removal of names from voter registration lists. Under Republican governor Rick Scott, the state has sought to remove names of non-citizens from voter registration lists using information compiled by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
The Department of Justice issued a letter Monday indicating the Federal government will initiate legal action against the state of Florida for a program the Federal government views as in conflict with voting rights laws.
The letter written by Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez says in part, "One of Congress's concerns in enacting the protections of the VRA and NVRA, and one of the Department's concerns in enforcing federal law as enacted by Congress, is ensuring that state efforts to find and purge ineligible persons from voter registration lists do not endanger the ability of eligible U.S. citizens to register to vote and maintain their voter registration status...Because the State has indicated its unwillingness to comply with these requirements, I have authorized the initiation of an enforcement action against Florida in federal court."
The "voter purge" movement has been criticized as a targeted effort to reduce the amount of minority voters in the November election—voters who tend to swing left. Meanwhile, proponents of the movement to eliminate ineligible voters from the lists say the so-called purge protects eligible voters.
Florida Governor Rick Scott talks with Christine Romans on "Starting Point" today about the voter purge, and the Assistant Attorney General's move to take the state of Florida to federal court. He responds to the criticism, saying "This is not a partisan issue. This is not a Republican, Democrat or Independent issue."
See more clips from the interview below.