The Facts behind Florida’s effort to ID and remove non-US citizens from the list of registered voters:

  • Approximately 182,000 potential non-citizens have been identified in a matching process between Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle (DHSMV) database and the Florida voter rolls.
  • Of these 182,000 potential non-citizens, 2,600 names have been reviewed by Florida’s Department of State and referred for further investigation to the appropriate county supervisor of elections.  The vast majority of the remaining 179,000+ potential non-citizens are still under review of the Department of State and may yet be referred for further investigation.
  • The department is not aware of any eligible voters being wrongly removed from the voter rolls. Meanwhile, several ineligible voters in multiple counties have responded to this initiative by actually contacting supervisors of elections and requesting to be removed from the rolls.
  • More than 1,100 registered voters in Miami-Dade County alone haven’t even bothered to respond to supervisors of elections asking questions about their citizenship status.
  • A person who willfully submits false voter registration information, including false information regarding citizenship status, commits a third degree felony.
  • Claims by some county supervisors that the “data is flawed” are either intentionally clouding the issue or are missing the obvious.  The data provided to elections supervisors should only be considered a tool to assist in removing ineligible voters from the database.  Under no circumstances should the DHSMV data be the sole consideration before removing a voter from the system.
  • It is the county supervisor’s job to protect the integrity of the voter registration database and to prevent non-US citizens from casting an illegal ballot. The Florida Department of State and Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles are working collaboratively to provide elections supervisors with the most accurate data available at the state level, and county elections supervisors should carefully consider the information and take appropriate steps to prevent vote fraud.
  • The State of Florida has asked the Obama Administration to grant access to the Department of Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) database, which is the most reliable database available for identifying ineligible voters and removing them from the system.  To date, the Obama Administration has refused to grant access to the database.
  • After waiting for nearly 9 months for access to the highly reliable SAVE database, with no response from the Obama Administration, the State of has developed a process designed to carefully review the available data, proceed with cases warranting further investigation, and remove voters who are proven to be ineligible.  That careful process is explained below.



  1. Compare  databases between the Department of State and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to identify people listed as non-citizens in DHSMV’s database that were also included on Florida’s voter rolls.
  2. Upon matching information from DHSMV indicating that a registered voter may not be a United States citizen, DOS conducts an investigation using its available resources to determine whether the information identifying a voter as potentially ineligible is credible and reliable.
  3. DOS then refers that information to a county supervisor of elections for additional review and investigation as needed.
  4. When a supervisor of elections receives information from DOS that a registered voter is a potential non-citizen, the supervisor must initiate the statutory notice and removal process. Potential non-citizens are provided an explanation of the basis for the review of potential ineligibility and an opportunity to furnish additional data to dispute the determination of potential ineligibility.
  5. Ineligible voters are removed from the database only after all of these steps have been completed.  To date, exactly ZERO legitimate US citizens have been reported to the Department of State as having been wrongly removed from the voter rolls.  In short, the process works.



  • The most comprehensive database to validate non-citizenship status belongs to the Department of Homeland Security, the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) database. We have requested access to this database since September 2011, but have been denied access by the Obama Administration. Secretary of State Ken Detzner has even personally written DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano for access to the SAVE database.
  • DHS’s SAVE database has up-to-date information that would allow us to confirm many non-citizens, and give supervisors of elections additional evidence they can use to remove ineligible voters.
  • Federal law expressly requires DHS to respond to state inquiries seeking to verify or ascertain the citizenship or immigration status of any individual within its jurisdiction for any purpose authorized by law. (8 U.S.C. s. 1373(c)).
  • Additionally, DHS has recently stated that the SAVE database could be used for voter registration purposes. See, e.g., 76 Fed. Reg. 58525, 58527 (September 21, 2011).
  • Yet after nine months of requests, we have not been granted access to that information or any other available DHS database.



  • The Department of State has a duty under both state and federal laws to ensure that the voter registration rolls are current and accurate.
  • If we receive credible and reliable information, we must act on it.
  • Race or party never factor into the process. The only criteria we are concerned about is someone’s ineligibility.
  • Our focus is on identifying and removing ineligible voters from the rolls because that’s our job and that’s a crucial part to having successful elections.
  • Nobody should be okay with ineligible voters being able to cast a ballot.
  • There is a high probability that non-citizens are on Florida’s voter rolls, but we do not have the ability to know conclusively without contacting every potential non-citizen. While some eligible voters may be asked to provide proof of citizenship, we know ineligible voters will be identified for removal in the process, and this is the only method we currently have to identify these non-citizens on the voter rolls.
  • What if someone is wrongly removed from the rolls?—If at any point someone realizes they have been wrongly removed from the voter rolls, that person can contact their supervisor of elections and be retroactively reinstated and eligible to vote in any upcoming elections. Also, if on the day of an election someone realizes they were wrongly removed, that person would be able to vote a provisional ballot which would absolutely count once they provide proof of citizenship to their supervisors of elections.  TO DATE, NO VOTER HAS REPORTED BEING WRONGLY REMOVED FROM THE ROLLS AS A RESULT OF THIS PROCESS.
  • Why not begin the removal process last year? — Before contacting supervisors, we wanted to know whether the match process was indeed viable and yielding credible information that the Supervisors of Elections could comfortably rely upon.  We determined it was both viable and credible.
  • Why is removing ineligible voters important? –Our year-round commitment to having ineligible voters removed from the voter rolls ensures the integrity of our elections, and specifically prevents the vote of an eligible voter from being diminished by an ineligible voter. Nobody should be okay with ineligible voters being able to cast a ballot.

Information provided by Chris Cate Florida Department of State.

Leave a Reply