As Two Lawsuits Challenge Voting Laws, Florida Prepares a New Purge

This week has seen the Department of Justice bring suit against North Carolina’s controversial voting restrictions, while the Democratic party in Virginia has legally challenged a move by election officials to disqualify voters registered in multiple states. As these challenges move forward, officials in Florida have resurrected the controversial purge of suspected non-citizens from the voter rolls.

When the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act was pushed onto the Department of Justice by a Supreme Court decision in June, Attorney General Eric Holder promised to fight. And fight he has, bringing suit against first Texas, and now North Carolina. North Carolina’s voting legislation, introduced shortly after the Supreme Court struck down the enforcement provision of the Voting Rights Act in June, has been called the most restrictive voting law (really, set of laws) ever introduced.

In Virginia, the voting law in question could affect up to 57,000 voters who may be currently registered in multiple states. Critics say that the list itself is flawed, citing significant errors already discovered. Similar complaints led many local Florida election officials (and ultimately, the entire state) to reject a 2012 law designed to purge non-citizen voters from the polls, but now, an effort to resurrect the program is in full swing, with Florida’s Secretary of State stumping for what he calls his “Project Integrity Tour.” Floridians seem skeptical of this renewed effort.

Will the legal, public and internal pushback against Florida and Virginia voter purges mean defeat of the legislation, or will lawmakers prevail by convincing voters that their policies represent the best attempts to assure that those who vote, vote legally? Depending which way the states go, Attorney General Holder may have a new lawsuit (or two) on his hands.

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