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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Judge Hinkle, A Clinton Appointee, Paves Way For Florida Purge Of Ineligible Voters

By Susan Duclos

After reading the article from the Bradenton Herald which reports that a Federal Judge has rejected the federal authorities arguments to prevent the state of Florida from purging ineligible voters of their rolls, I was left with the question "will the Democrats continue to assert that judges that rule against their position are "activists?"

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle is a Clinton appointee.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled there was nothing in federal voting laws that prevent the state from identifying ineligible voters even if it is close to the upcoming Aug. 14 election.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit earlier this month to halt the purge, saying federal voting laws barred the effort since it was within 90 days of a federal election. U.S. officials also said the list used by Florida had "critical imperfections, which lead to errors that harm and confuse voters."

Hinkle in ruling from the bench said federal laws are designed to block states from removing eligible voters close to an election. He said they are not designed to block voters who should have never been allowed to cast ballots in the first place.

Although he said "questioning someone's citizenship" is not a trivial matter, Hinkle also said that non-citizens should not be allowed to vote.

"People need to know we are running an honest election," said Hinkle, who was appointed by former President Bill Clinton.

A U.S. Department of Justice official said that the department would review the written decision when it was issued and declined to say whether federal authorities planned to appeal the ruling.

Ron Labasky, the legal adviser for the association that represents county election supervisors, sent out a memo late Wednesday telling supervisors if they have "sufficient documentation" that a person is not a U.S. citizen they can now remove them from the voting rolls.

Florida Governor Rick Scott, who initiated this purge in the first place, appears to feel a sense of vindication since the Judge's words are similar to his own arguments:

Scott, who has gone on multiple radio and television programs to defend the state's purge, praised Hinkle's decision.

"The court made a common-sense decision consistent with what I've been saying all along: that irreparable harm will result if non-citizens are allowed to vote," Scott said in a statement.

But during the court hearing, an attorney representing the state said Florida has voluntarily stopped pursuing a longer list of voters it has identified as potentially ineligible.

A spokesman for Scott said the state will not distribute that longer list unless the state can check the names against a federal immigration database. Florida is suing to obtain access to that database after getting rebuffed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Once again it is the Obama administration that is obstructing a state in protecting itself and in this case, obstructing a state from assuring it's residents of the integrity of the election by making sure those voting are actually eligible to vote.