Tampa Bay Times by Asa Royal
July 26, 2017
After news spread last month that President Donald Trump’s fraud commission was requesting voter data from all 50 states, 1,715 voters in Florida took themselves off the registration rolls.
Though the cancellations were clustered mostly in three to four counties, they represent a 117 percent statewide increase over the same period last year.
Though barely perceptible in a state with 12.9 million registered voters, the cancellations concern some elections officials.
Mary Jane Arrington, Supervisor of Elections in Osceola County — which had 76 cancellations in the 2017 period compared to 13 in 2016 and 9 in 2015— cited voter dislike of the commission as a top reason for the increased numbers of cancellations.
“It really upsets people that their phone numbers, their email address — they give it to us to communicate about voting or absentee ballots — (will) become public record,” Arrington said. “That bothers them immensely. We tell the voters when they’re (cancelling registration) that we can’t guarantee their information is not going to be sent. People are really upset. They want to know what it’s going to be used for. We can’t answer those questions.”
Cancellations rose in 38 counties across the state, according to an analysis by The Buzz. In St. Lucie County, 487 voters asked to be removed from the rolls between June 27 and July 17, compared to two voters the year before. In Lee County, 242 people cancelled their voter registration, up from 38 in 2016. In Monroe County, eight cancelled their registration, up from zero in 2015 and in 2016. [READ MORE]