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Palm Coast Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015 3 years ago

Hutson, Renner seek law change to clear up Canvassing Board confusion

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Last year, the board debated who should be the attorney.

The following is adapted from a press release from the office of Travis Hutson:

Flagler County’s legislative leaders took the first step to clear up a legal point of contention that had bogged down government meetings leading up to last November’s elections.

Yesterday, Florida Sen. Travis Hutson filed Senate Bill 82 – County Canvassing Boards, and Rep. Paul Renner will soon follow suit and file a companion bill in the Florida House of Representatives after it comes out of drafting. The bill would require a county canvassing board to retain the services of the county attorney for any legal representation of the board unless a majority of the canvassing board decides to retain different counsel.

The issue of legal counsel dominated multiple meetings of the Flagler County Canvassing Board last fall, taking time and focus from their core mission of conducting orderly and fair elections. Former Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks felt that Al Hadeed should not be the attorney for the Canvassing Board, and she hired her own attorney in a failed attempt to remove him.

“Elections are the foundation of our democracy,” Hutson said, “and any ambiguity in the election canvassing process threatens that foundation. This bill will prevent future wrangling over legal counsel at the cost of the taxpayer and allow the canvassing board to concentrate on their important task. I look forward to working with Representative Renner in moving this legislation through the committee process in the coming months.”

Due to the special elections that saw both Hutson and Renner’s current seats on the ballot this spring, the 2016 session will be the first time Flagler’s representatives in Tallahassee will have a full legislative cycle to work on the legislation together.

“I look forward to serving as the House sponsor of SB 82, a bill that would improve the orderly administration of elections in Florida,” Renner said.

Hutson and Renner will be back in Tallahassee later this month for another special session followed by the first committee meetings for 2016 legislation held in September. 

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