Federal Court Declines to Enjoin Disavowed Florida Purge Under NVRA

In a decision released this morning, a federal court declined to issue a temporary restraining order in the DOJ’s NVRA challenge to Florida’s purported purge of noncitizens.

Part of the reason was that the Florida Secretary of State Detzner apparently said that he has abandoned the program (or, at least, the program’s use of a purge list that was wildly inaccurate, including an apparent failure to recognize that Puerto Rican natives are US citizens).  But part of the reason was a curious construction of the NVRA, which stops systematic purges within 90 days of an election based on an apparent change of address, but not based on an apparent death or disenfranchising conviction … or, according to the Florida court, apparent noncitizen status.  It will be interesting to see whether the government appeals (if only to seek vacatur of an opinion opining on an avowedly abandoned program) on the statutory construction question.

IMO, the 90-day provision exists to reduce the negative consequences of error, and there were (and are) plenty of reasons to be concerned with error here.  There are two other lawsuits against the purge program, with legal claims beyond the NVRA; I’ll have more on the purge program more generally in a bit.

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