Rick Scott stands his ground on Florida voter-roll effort

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s effort to purge non-citizens from voter rolls in his state has drawn national criticism — and he seems (rightfully) confused as to why this is the case.

“Can you imagine that we have to even have a conversation,” Scott asked incredulously, “about whether non-citizens have a right to vote in America? Why would we even have to have a conversation about it?”

(I had a chance to chat with Gov. Scott yesterday about this controversy. Listen to it here. Or download the conversation on iTunes.)

Florida’s process is actually fairly straightforward. “They send a letter to individuals that might not be US citizens,” Scott notes. “They have 30 days to say, ‘I’m a US citizen, here’s the proof.’ Easy to do.”

Even if they don’t respond, they may still cast a provisional ballot on Election Day.

Interestingly, that happened to Scott a few years ago. “[T]hey said that I had passed away.  So I got to vote provisionally. They were very nice about it, and my vote counted.”

Of course, nothing is easy. Florida is being sued by the ACLU and Department of Justice over this program. In turn, Florida is suing the Department of Homeland Security over its refusal to release information critical to maintaining the accuracy of voter rolls. That information is contained in a database called SABE — and is crucial to preventing non-citizens from voting.

Aside from the controversy, Scott and I also discussed his state’s effort to limit the spread of feral pythons, the Trayvon Martin case, Florida’s improving economic climate — and he also put on his salesman’s cap to persuade me why I should attend the GOP convention in Tampa this summer. (I remain unconvinced.)

(Listen to our full conversation here. Or download the conversation on iTunes.)

Matt K. Lewis