11 Florida Lawmakers Receive Subpoenas in HB1355 Election Law Case

Steve Bousquet, the long-time St. Petersburg Times Tallahassee reporter, has a must read column on the 11 Republican state lawmakers who have been issued subpoenas in a federal lawsuit involving four provisions of Florida’s controversial election law, HB1355. The lawsuit deals with the question of whether the US Justice Department should “preclear” the changes for five Florida counties, as required under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

According to Bosquet, “The lawmakers, most of whom supported the legislation, are ordered to produce by Dec. 14 ‘all documents’ related to the four major election law changes at issue in the case.”

The most interesting comment in the story, I think, is from Representative Jimmy Patronis, a Republican from Panama City,who chaired the House Government Operations Subcommittee, which first considered HB1355.

Patronis, who supported HB1355, admitted to Bousquet that Bay County Supervisor of Elections, Mark Andersen, had urged him not curtail the number of early voting days, saying that Andersen, “told me how much the constituents love early voting.” Of course, these also happen to be Patronis’ constituents. But Patronis obviously had broader Republican Party interests in mind–and not his own constituents’–when he curtailed convenience voting in Florida.

[Incidentally, Bousquet gets it wrong when he says HB1355 keeps the total number of early voting hours at 96. It doesn’t. Under the new law, Supervisors of Elections need only offer a minimum of six hours of early voting a day over the shortened eight day early in-person voting period, for a total of 48 hours, as Politifact Florida points out].

Anyway, the subpoenas from the GOP 11 should produce some interesting reading.