Steven Bannon, the new Trump campaign chief, is registered to vote from a vacant house in Florida, in violation of state election law that requires that all voters be legal residents in the county where they register.
With the disturbing and tumultuous shake up of the Trump campaign recently, new head staffers have been added to the payroll that seem to be less than perfectly suited to promote the Orange One. As reported in The Guardian on Friday morning, the chief executive of Trump’s election campaign seems to be less than above board when it comes to voting and election law, himself. In fact, it appears he may have committed a felony.
Bannon, the new campaign chief who took over during the recent dismissal of the controversial Paul Manafort, is registered to vote using the address of an empty house where he does not — nor does anyone — actually live. The house is located in Florida, an important battleground state for this, and really any, modern U.S. presidential election. This is an apparent breach of Florida’s voting laws.
According to The Guardian, the home is not just vacant, but also scheduled for demolition in order to clear grounds for a new development. The Guardian interviewed the homeowner, Luis Guevar, who told the news organization:
‘I have emptied the property. Nobody lives there … we are going to make a construction there.’
The empty house, located in the Coconut Grove section of Miami-Dade County, Florida, has been abandoned for several months, according to neighbors.
Bannon, 62, rented the home at one time for his ex-wife, Diane Clohesy, but has never himself resided in the home. Clohesy moved out of the rented home earlier in the year. Clohesy is a tea party activist, and records show that she and Bannon divorced seven years ago.
According to records, Bannon rented another home for Clohesy in Miami from 2013 to 2015, and was registered to vote at that address, as well. However, according to a source with knowledge of the property lease, Bannon did not live at the Miami property, either, nor were Bannon and Clohesy involved in an active relationship at that time.
Bannon and the Trump campaign have declined to respond to questions regarding Bannon’s voting registration when queried by The Guardian, only answering with a sharp email after repeatedly refusing to answer the news organization’s questions. Trump campaign spokesman, Jason Miller, finally shot back in an email:
‘Mr. Bannon moved to another location in Florida.’
Bannon is executive chairman of Breitbart news, a right-wing website that has repeatedly claimed that voter fraud is perpetrated in Democratic strongholds and areas with high numbers of minority residents. The Guardian’s investigation into Bannon’s irregular voting registration revealed that Bannon may not be eligible to vote in the important swing state at all and that consequences for such in the state are pretty strict.
Under the state election law, voters must be legal residents of the county and state where they register, with Florida courts defining “legal residency” as “where a person mentally intends to make his or her permanent residence.”
Florida authorities make it abundantly clear that voters are required to vote where they live, and the Miami-Dade county website states that “When you register to vote, and actual residence is required by law.” Willfully submitting false information on a voter registration in Florida — or assisting someone else to do so — is a third-degree felony that carries a sentence of up to five years imprisonment.
According to The Guardian, the home appeared completely abandoned, with broken windows and a driveway blocked by tree branches. Neighbors questioned said that the home has been abandoned for at least three months, and that prior to that, no males of Bannon’s age or description had been seen on the property since Clohesy moved in.
Voting records show that prior to 2014, Bannon was registered to vote in Orange County, California and, unlike Miami-Dade, is a registered homeowner there in Laguna, according to county appraiser records.
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