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Florida’s voter purge returns

Secretary of State Ken Detzner tours the state to promise that state will do a better job this time around

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You’ll recall that last year’s slow start began with 180,000 suspected illegals being narrowed down to 2,600, then 198; in the end, something like 80 people were actually removed from the nearly 12 million-deep voter registration rolls, and that changed everything. We all started sleeping better knowing that our maids weren’t, gasp, voting.

Which is precisely the rhetoric that the Democrats started (re-)igniting on an Oct. 3 conference call we dipped in on with reporters from across the state.

“There is not a problem of noncitizens voting,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said, sounding not-slightly exasperated. “This is not something that resources of the state should be dedicated to. It’s designed to intimidate real voters, real American citizens from voting.”

Wasserman Schultz, never one to couch her sharpened lexicon in moderate kindnesses, went on to troubling terms like “disingenuous,” “undemocratic” and “autocratic” to illuminate her point that this is “a solution in search of a problem” for a governor who can’t get fairly re-elected based on his merits.

Responding to such obvious criticism – especially because it’s not hard to dig up last year’s notes on failure for retorts – Detzner tried to play the middle, according to the Tampa Bay Times, shrugging, “I’m just required by law to do this” before dissolving into a gelatinous puddle of gurgling noises.

Perhaps the only interesting development in this depressing redux was the reminder from a couple of people on the conference call that, uh, platinum princess of Democratic ambition Charlie Crist once supported a purge before he went all apeshit last year and called Republicans racists for doing the same. What’s so wrong with checking a database? Wasserman Schultz didn’t exactly demur. Instead, she doubled down on reminders of the “flawed process” the purge turned out to be last year and was suspicious of the costs and motivations for repeating it.

We reached out to Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles – who was to be roundtabled in person on Oct. 7 – for his take on the shenanigans, and his office effectively rolled its eyes over the phone and said it was taking a wait-and-see approach. We’ve already waited before, after all. And look what we saw.

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