MIAMI – Many of Florida's local elections supervisors are concerned about the accuracy of a list of 47,000 possible felons to be purged from voter rolls, and they want the state's help in ensuring that no voters are disenfranchised in November.
The summer conference of elections supervisors from Florida's 67 counties opens Monday in Key West. The list is expected to be a hot topic, in part because CNN recently filed a lawsuit seeking access to it.
"We know the outcome of using inaccurate lists," said Ion Sanchez, Leon County supervisor of elections. "The outcome is that legal voters are disenfranchised."
The issue is particularly sensitive because in the 2000 presidential election George W. Bush was declared the winner by just 537 votes after five weeks of recounts and challenges in Florida.
During the recounts, reports surfaced that people had been removed from voting rolls even though they were not felons.
Information for the felon list is provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (search). Under state law, validating the information is part of the local supervisor's job.
"This is not something that was sprung on the supervisors, they knew all along this was going to begin again," said Jenny Nash, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of State, which includes the elections division.
Still, Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokeswoman Kristin Perezluha said officials are considering ways to assist the elections supervisors, including a Web site that voters could access if they learn they are to be removed erroneously.