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Florida To Release Controversial Voter Purge List

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Is your name on the list? You’re about to find out if the State of Florida thinks you shouldn’t be a voter, after making the decision to release a controversial voter purge list to the public.

“The set of 180,000 names is a public record,” wrote Chris Cate, a spokesman for Secretary of State Ken Detzner, in an email. “We are in the process of redacting it now so that it can be provided to everyone who has made a public records request.”

Detzner did not say when the 180,000 names at the center of a controversy over attempts to remove non-citizens from the voting rolls will be released.

The collection is essentially the master list that the Secretary of State’s office used to come up with a sampling of names of suspected non-citizens that was then sent to county elections supervisors. Supervisors have since said that many of the names either belong to citizens or to people who can’t be contacted.

Some non-citizens have been removed from the rolls as part of the voter purge.

The initiative has already caused a legal battle over access to voting rolls. The feds wanted a federal judge to ban use of the list, a request the judge rejected after receiving assurance from the state that it was no longer actively pursuing the initiative.

At least two other lawsuits have been filed against the state, which is in turn suing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to gain access to a federal database that officials say would make future efforts more accurate.

“Florida releasing its original eleventh-hour voter purge list is a step in the right direction, but the delay is just one more example of the state?s complete lack of transparency,” said Diana Kasdan, counsel for the The Brennan Center’s Democracy Project, in a statement issued Tuesday. “This list should have been released months ago.”

The fight over the rolls is just one in a series of skirmishes that have broken out around voting in Florida a few months before the November presidential election. With 29 electoral votes, Florida is expected to be the largest swing state and could decide whether President Barack Obama or former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney wins the presidency.

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