MIAMI -- Gov. Rick Scott's effort to try to remove voters who are not American citizens from Florida voter registration rolls, a subject of continuing political controversy, has suffered a one-two punch in the past week.
On Tuesday, a federal appeals court ruled that Florida violated the National Voter Registration Act in trying to "systematically" remove noncitizen voters from the rolls within 90 days of the 2012 presidential election. In the 2-1 decision, the judges said the 90-day provision existed for a reason: to protect citizens from being unfairly denied their right to vote.
But even before this week's 11th Circuit Court ruling -- which weighed in only on the timing of the noncitizen removal program -- Florida's secretary of state, Ken Detzner, had decided to temporarily suspend the program.
In a memo last week to county election supervisors, Mr. Detzner said he would revisit the project after the Department of Homeland Security finished overhauling its Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements database -- expected to conclude in 2015. The state planned to use the database this year to crosscheck the citizenship of voters.