Part of the democratic process that makes it so appealing is the chance to have a say in one’s own governance. For many that may represent a significant departure from the governing philosophies of the countries from where they immigrated. Yet to enjoy this privilege to vote in local, state, and national elections, U.S. citizenship is a minimum requirement. Those currently here without taking advantage of this opportunity are denying themselves that privilege of having their voice heard by their representatives.
With the end of this year’s election cycle soon coming to a close, Florida is restarting their efforts to purge noncitizens from registered voter rolls. Last year’s attempt was met with harsh criticism, questioning the credibility of the information the state used to determine who was a noncitizen. After reviewing records from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the state initial came up with a list of over 180,000 who were ineligible to vote. However scrutiny of that number led to further review, and ultimately led to the state finding just over 198 records before the calling off any further analysis.
This year’s purge initiative, called “Project Integrity,” is said to be much better. Data culled from the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements, or SAVE database is believed to be much more accurate, while every noncitizen case will also be reviewed by state employees for further verification. The ultimate decision over one’s right to vote will lie with local elections supervisors.
The ability to vote is one that should not be taken for granted, and those still not in a position to enjoy this privilege may wish to do all that they can to earn it. An immigration attorney may be a useful ally to have in the naturalization process.
Source: Miami Herald “Gov. Rick Scott delivers mea culpa on voter purge” Michael Van Sickler, Oct. 06, 2013