"Since the 2000 elections, the state of Florida has not made the process of purging nor the names of individuals to be purged from the voter rolls public," they wrote. "Thus, American citizens are left in the dark of how Florida chooses who will be purged, much like tens of thousands of wrongfully purged Florida citizens were in the 2000 and 2004 elections.
The Obama administration's Justice Department warned in late May that Florida's new procedures for purging the rolls of ineligible voters was not submitted for review or pre-clearance under the Voting Rights Act. Justice also said Florida appeared to be in violation of the National Voter Registration Act, which prohibits purging 90 days before a federal election.
On Wednesday, the court did not agree with Justice that Florida should be stopped immediately.
Democrats have said for several months now that purging, state laws that require voter identification at the polls, and other state-level activities run the risk of disenfranchising voters, especially minority voters, the elderly and other groups. Democrats signing the letter pushed that point to Chairman Smith as well.
"If we allow threats to the democratic process to take place while on the Committee's watch, we violate the very principles of our Constitution that allow us to serve in a representative government," they wrote. "Therefore, the relevant focus the Committee has historically held on traditional civil rights issues must be continued in this Congress and should not get lost amidst any distorted agenda under the guise of civil rights.
"We urge that you hold hearings on NVRA enforcement and review states that violate our federal voting protections."