Then-Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez wrote a letter to the Florida Secretary of State indicating that the Department of Justice would be suing Florida for violating the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). As promised, a lawsuit was filed the next day in the Northern District of Florida challenging Florida’s methods of removing illegal aliens and other ineligible voters from voter rolls.
This lawsuit was one chess move in the escalation of a conflict between the Obama Administration and states who want to prevent illegal aliens from fraudulently voting. Since September 2011, Florida had sought access to a federal database called SAVE, which stands for Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements. The SAVE database would allow Florida officials to check the immigration status of those registered to vote. Just five days before DOJ’s lawsuit was filed, Florida had sued the Justice Department for access to the SAVE database and attempted to remove illegal aliens with the information it had. Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) said, “We’ve been asking for the Department of Homeland Security’s database, SAVE, for months, and they haven’t given it to us.”
Just a few weeks later, Judge Hinkle of the Northern District of Florida ruled against the Department of Justice, denying the government’s request for a preliminary injunction in the NVRA case. Despite the Obama Administration’s efforts to prevent the removal of illegal aliens from voter rolls, there was a victory for the Sunshine State.