A federal judge in Fort Lauderdale ruled Thursday that federal law does not prohibit the state of Florida from purging noncitizen voters within 90 days from Election Day.
U.S. District Judge Willam J. Zloch denied a request from a coalition of voting-rights groups to halt the purge of 198 potential noncitizens. The coalition had argued in a hearing Monday that a 90-day prohibition in federal law against purging voters who had changed their address extended to noncitizens on the rolls.
Lawyers for Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner countered that the state could purge noncitizens because they had never been eligible to vote and should not have been on the rolls in the first place.
“We’re very pleased another federal court has ruled that Florida’s efforts to remove noncitizens from the voter rolls are lawful and in the best interest of Florida voters,” Detzner said in a statement. “Ensuring ineligible voters can’t cast a ballot is a fundamental aspect of conducting fair elections.”
Zloch’s ruling follows one issued by a Tallahassee federal judge in June in a separate case filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. That judge also opined that the 90-day purge prohibition in the 1993 National Voter Registration Act applies to people lawfully registered to vote, such as felons, and is silent as to noncitizens.