US States to access US immigration database to purge voter lists

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As the 2012 US Presidential election approaches, several US states are working to reach agreements with federal officials to access a US immigration database in order to remove non-citizens from voter rolls.

Last week, Florida reached its own agreement with the US Department of Homeland Security to use a database, known as Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) that contains information about immigrants who are in the US legally.

The SAVE system aims to help states distinguish between foreigners living in the US on visas including those with lawful permanent residence (frequently referred to as having a green card), and others who have become naturalized citizens and now have the right to vote.

"I think they are taking their responsibility seriously and want to help us," Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler said. "It definitely will help us address vulnerabilities in the voter rolls."

At least ten other states, including New Mexico, Nevada, Michigan and Ohio are looking into making their own requests to use the federal database.

Currently, Republican and Democrats are both arguing about the issue of voter eligibility, which could heavily influence turnout in the presidential election. Republicans have argued that voter purges and other restrictions, such as photo identification requirements for voters, will prevent fraud. However, Democrats argue that the measures are designed to suppress turnout among minorities and others who tend to vote for Democratic candidates.

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