A new audit shows that Florida’s attempt to rid the voting rolls of felons this year was marred by lax oversight by the Department of State, which failed to follow legal settlements and relied on seriously flawed data when it put together the controversial felons list, the Miami Herald reports. The audit by Kirby Mole, the inspector general who reports to Secretary of State Glenda Hood, says no evidence exists to suggest that state officials deliberately intended to purge black voters more aggressively than Hispanic voters. In July, Hood killed the felons list — intended to be used by elections officials to purge voters — after news reports pointed out problems, including that it contained too few Hispanics.
Florida is one of a few states that bans former prisoners from voting unless they apply to have their civil rights restored. An attempt to rid voting rolls of felons in 2000 came under fire after it was revealed that the list drawn up by a private company for the state was seriously flawed. State efforts to draw up a list of more than 48,000 felons came under scrutiny when the list was given to counties in May. The Herald discovered more than 2,000 on the list had had their civil rights restored, many of them Democrats. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune discovered that Hispanics, who often vote Republican, had largely been left off the list.