Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) announced support for his state’s controversial voter purge effort on Wednesday, saying it was hard to disagree with the push to clear supposed non-citizens from the electoral rolls.
“How can you argue against a state identifying people who are not rightfully on the voter rolls?” he said at a Bloomberg event, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Rubio’s comments put him in line with Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) who on Tuesday declared the debate on the merits of the purge “over,” because the probe had supposedly turned up more than 50 non-citizen voters who had cast ballots.
The Department of Justice didn’t agree. Later Tuesday, it announced it was launching a federal lawsuit against Florida over complaints that the purge was taking place within 90 days of its August 14 primary election, as well as over its alleged violation of a voting rights law meant to prevent states from suppressing voters.
Concerns over the purge have largely been spurred by reports showing that the effort disproportionately targets minority and Democratic-leaning voters. According to aMiami Herald study, Hispanic voters accounted for nearly 60 percent of the names on the list, while they make up only 13 percent of the overall 11.3 million active registered voters.
All of these complaints have led almost every county elections supervisor in the state, including 30 Republicans, to announce that they’ll halt the purge.
While the controversy rages, Scott continues to maintain that the move is a “no-brainer,” necessary to maintain fair elections in the state.