Florida says it will defy an order from the US justice department to stop purging its voter roll of people the state claims may not be American citizens.
The justice department has warned that the practice, which critics describe as "voter suppression" by Florida's Republican administration aimed at stripping the ballot from people more likely to support Democrats, is illegal under federal laws.
It has given the state until Wednesday to agree to halt the purge, something officials in Florida say they have no intention of doing.
Federal authorities say that the state is obliged to get justice department approval for changes to its voting laws under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was introduced to end practices that prevented African Americans from exercising their democratic right in many southern states.
The justice department also said that the purge appears to violate a federal law stopping voters being removed from the rolls less than 90 days before an election. Florida holds primaries in mid-August.Do you think this is blatant cheating on the part of Republicans? If so, can our conservative friends here continue to support the GOP?Florida's governor, Rick Scott, has justified the purging of the voters roll as necessary to prevent fraud by people who are not American citizens. But there is little evidence that this has been a significant problem in the past and the effect has been to remove many people who are entitled to vote.
Those tasked with purging the rolls compares voter lists with driving licence files, which record citizenship. But critics say that system is flawed in part because many people obtain citizenship after applying for a driving licence.
Among those wrongly removed from the voter roll was Bill Internicola who was born in New York 91 years ago and earned a medal in the Battle of the Bulge during the second world war.
Florida authorities sent him a letter in May saying that it had received information that he was not a US citizen. The onus was then on Internicola and others who received similar letters to prove they have the right to vote. Internicola is a Democrat.