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Florida discovers fewer ineligible voters than thought

With the 2012 presidential election upon us, several states in the country are currently grappling with the issue of voter identification laws. Proponents of the laws believe that they are necessary in order to prevent non-U.S. citizens from voting. Opponents of the laws argue that they will have a disparate impact on low-income people, the elderly and minorities who do not have government-issued identification.

Up until recently, analysts could only guess at how many non-citizens cast ballots in elections. However, after implementing a controversial voter-roll screening process, the state of Florida has announced that far fewer non-U.S. citizens were registered to vote than they had anticipated. The Florida Department of State also subsequently reached an agreement with advocates who were against the screening process.

Florida officials said that a federal immigration database was used to identify 207 names on the voter rolls as non-citizens. Originally, promoters of the screening projected that more than 2,600 people on the voter rolls were ineligible to vote for being non-citizens. The screening was challenged by voting groups who said the practice was discriminatory because it targeted Hispanics in the state.

This week, it was announced that the opposing groups reached an agreement to rectify what minority advocates believe was unfair treatment to Hispanic. Florida officials agreed to instruct election supervisors to individually contact the remaining 2,400 voters who were originally thought to be ineligible to vote and tell them otherwise.

Many of these individuals came under scrutiny after merely failing to respond to certified mail after the state released a list of potential non-eligible voters. The Florida secretary of state also agreed to take other steps to insure that eligible voters who had been removed from voter rolls are allowed to vote and are informed of this right.

Source: Fox News Latino, "Florida Voter-Roll Purge Finds Few Non-Citizens," Sept. 13, 2012

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