MUST READ investigative reporting by @dkpbpost on origins of Florida’s HB1355

Crack Palm Beach Post reporters, Dara Kam and John Lantigua have exposed the origins of Florida’s 2011 voter suppression law, HB1355.  Emmett “Bucky” Mitchell IV, who was formerly the Florida Division of Elections senior attorney, penned the first draft of the controversial legislation that made it more difficult for groups to register voters, reduced early voting hours, and required registered voters moving to a new county to cast a provisional ballot.  In 2000, he designed Katherine Harris’s flawed list that wrongly purged thousands of African Americans wrongly identified as felons.

Mitchell currently serves as general counsel for the Florida GOP.

According to his deposition in a lawsuit filed in 2011 by the League of Women Voters, Mitchell admitted to writing “the early version of 1355 around January 2011, after consultations with three top Florida GOP officials: Andy Palmer, then executive director of the Florida GOP; Frank Terraferma, head of GOP State House campaigns; and Joel Springer, head of State Senate campaigns. Also included in early talks was former executive director of the Florida GOP Jim Rimes, now a senior partner at Enwright Consulting, a Tallahassee political consulting firm that counsels GOP political candidates.”

When asked by LWV attorney Daniel O’Connor if he was “aware of any instances of any voters in Florida voting twice in a single election?” Mitchel replied, “Not specifically, no.”  When asked,“Were you aware of any other types of fraud or misconduct by voters who moved and attempted to update their address at a polling place and vote that same day?” Mitchell replied, “No.”

Evidently, writing legislation for the Republican-controlled legislature is common practice for Mitchell. As he told O’Connor, “Typically, what I do before a (legislative) session begins is, I look at changes that I think would be beneficial to our clients,” especially regarding campaign finance issues. “In this case, that’s how this election bill got started.”

The full story is available here.