June 11, 2012 at 6:32 pm
Governor Rick Scott said on Fox News Channel on Monday afternoon that the state had no choice but sue the United States Department of Homeland Security to obtain a database needed in its review of noncitizen voters.
“I look forward to them giving us the database but, again, we don’t have a choice but to sue them this afternoon,” Scott said.
Before his announcement, the governor repeatedly accused President Obama‘s administration of “stalling” by not releasing the database that Scott said would have helped identify non-citizens from its voter rolls.
“The debate is over,” Scott told FLDemocracy in an interview Monday. “We clearly have proof that non-citizens are voting in our elections. As your governor, I have an obligation to enforce the law. And, I intend to do that.”
Last week, Scott, who asked the Department of Homeland Security for its federal citizenship database, defied a United States Department of Justice order to stop the state’s purge of its voter rolls after government officials said it was illegal.
County elections officials suspended the purge and said they would not follow through with the state’s efforts until its legality could be resolved.
Florida has flagged 2,700 potential noncitizen voters and sent the list to county elections supervisors, some of whom found the data and methodology to be flawed and problematic. The list of potential noncitizen voters – many of whom have turned out to be lawful citizens and voters – disproportionately hit minorities, especially Hispanics.
When asked again about what recourse he had if Florida election supervisors did not purge voter rolls, Scott said “all elected officials will do the right thing.”
“We know individuals are voting in our elections that don’t have the right to vote. That’s wrong. It’s illegal. It’s a crime,” he said. “Everybody wants to make sure that U.S. citizens vote in our elections. Non-citizens don’t vote in our elections. So, I’m very comfortable that the right thing will happen here.”
On Friday, the American Civil Liberties Union announced it was suing Florida to stop its controversial program designed to purge noncitizen voters from the rolls.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
On Monday, Scott also weighed in on the United States Supreme Court’s review of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and other issues.
“I’m very optimistic that the Supreme Court will do the right thing and make sure that we all know that the federal government can’t tell us what we should be buying,” he said.
“If they don’t, I’m hopeful in this election we’ll elect individuals that will repeal it. It’s the biggest job-killer ever. It’s horrible for patients. It’ll push more jobs out. And, there’s no way, as citizens, can we afford it.”
STAND YOUR GROUND
As the debate over the shooting death of Miami Gardens teenager Trayvon Martin and state’s so-called Stand Your Ground law continued, Scott said the second Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection town hall would provide valuable feedback for state legislators.
Hundreds of people from across the state were expected to attend the second town hall in Longwood, near Orlando, on Tuesday.
The town hall was the first that would be open to public comments.
“My goal is to have this feedback in time [for the next legislative session] so that we can look to see if anything needs to be changed with regard to the law,” Scott said.
Martin’s parents were expected to deliver a petition to the panel with more than 340,000 signatures in support of a change to the law.
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION
Scott said it was still unclear what role he would play in Tampa when Florida plays host for the 2012 Republican National Convention in August.
“I have never been to a convention before. This will be my first convention. I look forward to welcoming everybody into Florida [and] into Tampa,” Scott told FLDemocracy.
Scott said he looked forward to the four-day convention elevating the state’s profile.
“It’s a big economic boon to Tampa,” he said. “I think the expectation is a $175 million boon to that community. It’s a way for us to highlight and promote Florida.”
Scott said more than 50,000 people were expected to attend the convention.
WISCONSIN RECALL ELECTION
The first-term governor, whose popularity has waned since his election, also weighed in on efforts to recall Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.
“If they elect you the first time, and you did what you said you were going to do, you know, you’ll get re-elected,” he said.
“It’s also helpful if what you say you’re going to do does work. In Wisconsin’s case, jobs are coming back, the perception of Wisconsin as far as a good place to do business has dramatically improved, so I think that’s that helped Governor Walker.”
Last week, Walker defeated Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett to become the first governor in the United States to survive a recall election.
The effort had been driven by union and Democratic leaders after Walker eliminated most collective bargaining agreements for the state’s public employees.