World War II Vet, Battle Of The Bulge Medal Winner, Caught In Florida Voter Purge

It would appear that Florida’s recent effort to purge its voters rolls of supposed invalid registrations was overzealous to say the very least:

A 91-year-old who received a Bronze Star for fighting in the Battle of the Bulge was reportedly told he may not be an American citizen, in an apparent mix-up due to Florida’s attempts to purge noncitizens from its voter rolls.

Bill Internicola received a letter this month stating that he had to prove he was a citizen or lose his right to vote, reports the Miami Herald.

Internicola, it appears, was caught up in Gov. Rick Scott’s statewide attempt to clear noncitizens from voter registration rolls before the election this November.

The Broward County Board of Supervisors said in the letter to Internicola that it had obtained “information from the State of Florida that you are not a United States citizen; however you are registered to vote.”

Internicola was “flabbergasted” when he received the letter, he said at a press conference where he was joined by two Democratic members of Congress. Democrats allege that the initiative is “misguided” and suggest that the governor is trying to remove legal voters from registration rolls before the presidential elections.

The WWII veteran has since proven to the state that he is in fact a citizen.

The state Division of Elections identified approximately 180,000 potential noncitizens from Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. This was later narrowed down to more than 2,600 names, which were passed onto counties for verification, according to the Miami Herald.

When I first heard about this move by Florida I was, to say the least, skeptical. How, exactly, do you determine that someone is not a citizen merely be looking at a list of voters? Certainly there are some listings that can be purged rather easily, or at least should be. I am reminded of when I first started voting when I lived in New Jersey, one of my parents neighbors, a widow who had lost her husband two years earlier, was in line before me on this particular day and when they were verifying her identity she was able to see that her husband’s name was still on the voter rolls even though he’d been dead for two years. How that was even allowed to happen is beyond me.

So, yes, periodic purging of the voter rolls is certainly in order to catch people who have died, moved, or been convicted of a felony that bars them from voting in the future. But it’s completely unclear what standards Florida was even using here or how they even managed to come up with the theory that Internicola wasn’t a citizen.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Hey Norm says:

    I think we should all just have to apply to very responsible people, like Rick Scott, and let them decide on an individual basis if we are fit to vote.

    Seriously though…Republicans should try coming up with some real ideas for governing and solutions for the problems we face…and let the votes take care of themselves. If they did that they might not have to resort to tactics like voter supression in order to win elections.

  2. WR says:

    Apparently they’re assuming that anyone registered as a Democrat or Independent, or who sounds like they may have dark skin, is ineligible to vote.

    Why Rick Scott isn’t in a federal prison is a mystery to me.

  3. David M says:

    The state really needs to make their methods as public as possible, or people will assume it’s because his last name wasn’t Jones or Smith. How did they come up with the original list of 180,000, and how did they narrow that down to 2,600 that included this WW2 vet?

    I can’t think of a single valid reason not only to make their methods public, but to hold a press day and walk reporters through the entire process. Unless they have something to hide from the citizens of Florida?

  4. rudderpedals says:

    To the designers – and this behavior was introduced in JEB’s regime – it’s a feature, not a bug.

    Voting in some counties such as Sarasota is so unreliable we had to initiate a citizens referendum forcing paper ballots over the complaints of a less than competent elections supervisor.

    There needs to be a federal standard for voters and elections administration, if only for federal elections.

  5. Hey Norm says:

    @ David M…
    Does Rick Scott…former Chief Executive of Chief Executive of Columbia/HCA, which admitted to fourteen felonies and agreed to pay the federal government over $600M…have anything to hide from the citizens of Florida?
    Hmmm…excellent question.

  6. merl says:

    It’s his own fault for having a foreign name and or being a registered Democrat. Repubs do not care for Democracy at all.

  7. Rob in CT says:

    Apparently what got him was that a looooong time ago, he lied about his age so he could get a driver’s license early. He was actually born 1921, but claimed 1919. His DL says 1919, other docs say, correctly, 1921.

    I think this whole purge is politically motivated crap, though.

  8. Bill Jempty says:

    As a former Long Islander who used to visit his sister who lived off Kings Highway, I can testify for those who think Brooklyn is a whole other country from that of the rest of New York east of Manhattan.

    You can turn the sarcasm off now

  9. Just nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Doug: “When I first heard about this move by Florida I was, to say the least, skeptical. How, exactly, do you determine that someone is not a citizen merely be looking at a list of voters?”

    There’s a test–Does the name end in a vowel? Yes: not a citizen. No: send the name to step 2 unless registered as Republican.

  10. Davebo says:

    her husband’s name was still on the voter rolls even though he’d been dead for two years. How that was even allowed to happen is beyond me.

    Seriously? The idea of a voter still listed on the rolls two years after their death is beyond you?

  11. J-Dub says:

    It seems like every modern company, from Citigroup to Facebook, can track every detail of their users but the US Gov can’t even tell you if someone is a citizen or is dead. Time to get with the times.

    Maybe we should outsource elections to IBM, from creating reasonable voting districts based on geography over gerrymandering to tallying votes. And tracking campaign contributions.

  12. Tillman says:

    It seems like every modern company, from Citigroup to Facebook, can track every detail of their users but the US Gov can’t even tell you if someone is a citizen or is dead.

    That’s because we have rights when it comes to government, but only contractual obligations (on both parties’ parts) when it comes to modern companies.

    On the other hand, this puts that al-Awlaki killing in a different light.

  13. george says:

    I can’t help but notice that this is just another instance of the GOP being pro-military, but anti-veteran … just sayin’.