People For the American Way Foundation

Push for citizenship data goes viral

After granting Florida access to its Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) database, the Department of Homeland Security has begun discussions with a growing number of states who’ve requested the same.

State election chiefs, including Texas Secretary of State Esperanza Andrade and New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran, claim the SAVE database will help identify noncitizens, but it is not a complete list of citizens, and therefore not entirely reliable. Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler has even acknowledged that he doesn’t have any confirmed cases of voter fraud, yet has pressed DHS for data, and recently filed open-records requests with jails for lists of anyone held on an immigration detainer since 2010 and ran them against the state’s voter registration database.

The growing push for such information has left voting rights advocates worried that more Florida-like purges are on the horizon – a threat that could potentially leave thousands of eligible voters disenfranchised for November’s general election.

Elena Nuñez, Colorado Common Cause, Executive Director:

Particularly in Colorado, as a swing state in a hotly contested election, we should all be doing everything we can to encourage all eligible voters to register and participate. To have the chief elections officer putting out a message that he thinks that some people shouldn’t be on the rolls creates this atmosphere that’s unwelcoming.

Carlos Duarte, Mi Familia Vota Texas, Director:

This is happening so close to the election that the actual effect is going to be disenfranchising people who otherwise should be eligible to vote.

Viki Harrison, Common Cause New Mexico, Executive Director:

I think the real crisis in voting is that 50 percent of New Mexicans who are eligible to vote are not registered. And we’re worried about things like this?

For more information, click here, here, and here, and be sure to check out The Right to Vote under Attack: The Campaign to Keep Millions of Americans from the Ballot Box, a Right Wing Watch: In Focusreport by PFAW Foundation.


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