Asst. State Attorney Steve Houchin said the statute of limitations has run out on a case of illegal voting.
After receiving a complaint from Richard Fankhauser at a May 8 Tea Party meeting, Supervisor of Elections Joe Campbell pulled the voting records on Errol Everton "Gotee" Morris, according to a Highlands County Sheriff's Office report by Deputy Oliver Worley.
Campbell said records revealed Morris is registered and voted three times, in 2002, 2008 and 2010.
Campbell said registration regulations were changed by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which allowed citizens to register to vote at the same time they got drivers' licenses. Therefore, Morris could have been confused when he registered in 1996.
However, Campbell's records showed Morris did not check the box that states he is a U.S or naturalized citizen.
Worley's report said he emailed Special Agent Daniel Wise of Homeland Security, who confirmed Morris is a permanent legal resident after emigrating from Jamaica in 1980. His second marriage is to a U.S. citizen, but he is not a citizen. Even so, his first wife pressured him to vote and she filled out the voter card for him.
Houchin said Thursday, unless Morris has intentionally committed crime within the applicable statue of limitations, the state attorney cannot prosecute. Morris' case did not arise out of Gov. Scott's request in June to purge the voter rolls, Campbell said Thursday.
Assistant Supervisor of Elections Karen Kensinger said in June that Campbell's office had sent seven letters to potential noncitizens identified by the Florida Department of State and by the county clerk of courts office.
One, she said, had properly told the clerk of court in 2009 that he or she could not serve on a jury because he or she was not a citizen. In 2011, he or she registered to vote after becoming a U.S. citizen.
"For the most part, we're just doing the research," Kensinger said. "We're not going to remove anybody that we're not absolutely sure about."
Campbell verified on Thursday that no voters have been removed from the rolls as a result of Scott's request, because local officials still have not determined if any of those seven were illegally registered.
One was born in Puerto Rico, Campbell said, so he is an American citizen. Another is a naturalized citizen who is currently studying in Japan. One couple has never responded to Campbell's letters.
"I can't just take someone off the voter rolls because they didn't respond to a letter," Campbell explained. "I can't do that until I'm 100 percent sure."
Campbell said voter fraud is rare. "It seems like I've turned in two or three cases (while) I've been in this office." He has been the elections supervisor for 16 years and worked for the previous supervisor for more than 10 years. On June 12, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Secretary of State Ken Detzner over Florida's efforts to scrub voter rolls. On Wednesday, the DOJ demanded through a subpoena that Hillsborough and eight other Florida counties turn over voter-purge records.
Hillsborough Elections Supervisor Earl Lennard said he would comply. Like Campbell and other supervisors across the state, Lennard halted efforts to purge voters when the tools to cross-reference citizenship and voter registration -- a Department of Homeland Security database and motor vehicle records -- proved unreliable.
Also on Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union claimed that more than 17,000 former felons whose civil rights have been restored never received their notices of rights restoration. More than 13,000 of them aren't registered and may not know they're eligible to vote, the ACLU said.
The federal government's "statement of interest" maintains that Scott's purge violates the Voting Rights Act, which requires that five Florida counties that have histories of voter discrimination -- Hillsborough, Hardee, Hendry, Collier and Monroe -- must obtain federal pre-clearance" for any changes in voting procedure.
The governor has been criticized by the ACLU, voter rights groups and Democrats who say the move targets minorities who may not support the GOP in a divisive election year.
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