SEATTLE -- The Secretary of State s office says Washington state won t be able to access a federal database of legal immigrants to examine voting eligibility.

Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed had been attempting to access Homeland Security s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements program, which houses information on legal immigrants such as green card holders, refugees and naturalized citizens.

The database can be used to determine an immigrant s access to certain services. Reed wanted to access the program as one tool to look for immigrants who may have been registered to vote but shouldn t have.

Other states have gained access, prompting a pushback by advocacy groups who see the move as voter purging.

Reed says his office cannot access the program unless lawmakers pass a measure allowing it the state to gather alien identification numbers, which in other states are collected during an application for a driver s license.

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