MIAMI (CBS4) – Florida Governor Rick Scott continued Thursday to push back criticism that he was conducting a voter purge for political purposes.
“First off it’s not a purge,” Scott told CBS4’s Jim DeFede. “You know what I’m surprised about. I have not met one person, Republican, Democrat, and Independent that thinks non-citizens should vote in our races.”
The Republican governor is in a fight with the U.S. Department of Justice over his efforts to search voter rolls for non-citizens. Out of 11.3 million registered voters only 140 non citizens have been uncovered. And recent reports some of those being thrown off the voter rolls may actually be U.S. citizens after all.
Scott pointed to his own situation as an example how the system is able to catch its own mistakes.
“They said I had passed away,” Scott said, recalling the time in 2006 when he was told he wasn’t eligible to vote. “And so they made me vote provisionally and they went back and figured out that I hadn’t passed away and my vote counted.”
Scott said he didn’t know why he was listed among the dead.
“I asked, `So how does this happen?’ And nobody could answer,” he added.
Critics say Scott’s efforts are part of a larger campaign by Republicans to suppress voter turnout among minority groups that favor Democrats. Scott signed a bill into law that cuts back the number of hours of early voting. It also made it harder for groups to register people to vote.
In a taping for his new Sunday morning talk show, Facing South Florida, DeFede asked Scott: “If your goal is to have more people voting, it seems that your actions have actually created a situation where fewer people are going to be able to vote.”
“I want, what I care about is I want people to register to vote,” he said. “But I want US citizens to vote not non-US citizens.”
The entire interview with Scott can be seen CBS4 Sunday, June 17, at 11:30 am on Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede.