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December 19th, 2012
10:40 AM ET

Florida Gov. Scott: 'We've got to restore confidence in our election'

During the past election, some residents waited in line for up to six hours to cast their vote in the state of Florida, bringing back memories of the hanging chads debacle in 2000.

Florida's Governor Rick Scott is planning to introduce measures to try to address some of the state's voting issues, and he announces the steps he intends to take on Starting Point this morning.

Gov. Scott outlines three main objectives of voting reform: reducing the length of ballots,allowing supervisors more flexibility in the size of polling locations and reexamining the number of early voting days.

"People are frustrated in our state," Gov. Scott acknowledges. "We've got to restore confidence in our election."

The Republican Governor, who has been given an "A" rating by the NRA, also discusses the organization's response to Friday's tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary.

October 1st, 2012
11:28 AM ET

Lawrence Norden: Florida voter registration controversy ‘undermines confidence in elections'

A voter registration controversy in Florida has left many asking questions after suspicious registrations have been reported in nearly a dozen counties. Strategic Allied Consulting, a firm working for the Republican Party, was fired last week after turning in falsified and illegible registration forms. Lawrence Norden, an expert in voter registration laws and deputy director of the Democracy Program at NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, joins Soledad O’Brien to discuss the alleged fraud and how it undermines Americans’ confidence in elections.

Filed under: 2012 Race • Elections • Florida • Voting issues
August 6th, 2012
11:44 AM ET

Amb. Andrew Young: 'The next president needs to make it possible for a citizen’s vote to count'

Today marks the 47th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, signed into law by Presidnet Lyndon B. Johnson on August 6, 1965.

With America's first black president up for reelection this November, the conversation about voting rights has been reignited across the country.

Thirty states are currently enforcing some form of voter ID law, which many civil rights advocates says is an effort to suppress the minority vote.

Former UN Ambassador Andrew Young helped draft the 1965 legislation and he's issuing an open letter today asking business, religious, and political leaders of all parties to remove unreasonable barriers to voting and making voting more accessible to all.

Young appears of Starting Point today to discuss his effort. He's joined by Martin Luther King III, president and CEO of the King Center and the oldest son of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior.

"It’s more and more cumbersome to vote and that’s not the direction in which a democracy should be moving," Ambassador Young says. "The next president needs to make it possible for a citizen’s vote to count."

Filed under: Voting issues
July 16th, 2012
11:22 AM ET

Gov. Scott on state gaining access to SAVE database: Right to vote is sacred

(CNN) –– Florida election officials will have access to a federal law enforcement database to challenge the eligibility of a person to vote as part of its effort to purge non-citizens from its voting rolls, state officials said.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will allow state officials access to the SAVE - Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements - database in an agreement that was announced Saturday by Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner and the Florida Department of State.

The announcement follows weeks of legal wrangling between the federal and state officials, a fight being closely watched in Colorado, Nevada, Michigan and North Carolina - states that could ultimately swing November's presidential election - where officials are advocating for similar access.

This morning on "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien," Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) explains that the move will ensure that only American citizens are offered the right to vote.

"Their database will allow us to make sure that in future elections, you know, non-U.S. citizens aren't going to vote," Gov. Scott says. "I'm really very appreciative the federal government is cooperating with this, and it will allow us to go through a logical process to make sure non-citizens aren't voting."

"The right on vote is a sacred right," Gov. Scott adds. "We have to make sure U.S. citizens' right on vote is not diluted."


Filed under: Voter purge • Voting issues
June 12th, 2012
09:45 AM ET

Gov. Rick Scott on voter purge: We have no choice but to sue Justice Department for voter database

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.

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Filed under: 2012 Race • Florida • Politics • Voter purge • Voting issues
June 11th, 2012
01:57 PM ET

Is an accurate voter-roll purge possible in Florida? Brennan Center's Waldman says U.S. has 'long history of messed up elections'

Michael Waldman, executive director of the Brennan Center for Justice, on the difficulties of Florida's attempt at an accurate voter roll purge.

Filed under: 2012 Race • Voting issues