How about the three members of the Key West Elections Canvassing Board– City Commissioners Jimmy Weekley and Clayton Lopez and City Clerk Cheri Smith. They just voted this morning to allow Bob Dean’s vote in the recent Key West city election to count — even though an investigation by the Monroe County State Attorney’s Office found that Dean doesn’t live in Key West; he lives in Key Haven, which is outside the Key West city limits. The purpose of the Canvassing Board meeting, which was open to the public, was to decide which provisional ballots would count and which would not count. Dean had to vote with a provisional ballot because State Attorney Catherine Vogel had challenged his eligibility to vote in Key West.
Video by Naja and Arnaud Girard…….
Commentary by Dennis Reeves Cooper…….
Suppose that you are inclined to tell people that you own the Cow Key Channel Bridge and, furthermore, that you are willing to sell it for a reasonable price. And suppose that you hear that there are three Key West residents who might be gullible enough to actually believe that you do own the bridge and who might be willing to make an offer. Who do you think those three people might be?
It was actually humorous to watch the members of the Canvassing Board struggle, obviously trying to find a rationale to vote in favor of Dean, one of the most prominent citizens in this community. City Attorney Shawn Smith, addressing the board by phone, advised them that the voter’s “intent” was an important consideration– but that intent had to be backed up with evidence. The State Attorney’s report found that, although the Bahama Street address has been on his voting card since at least 2004, virtually every other document in Dean’s life– like auto registration and his state funeral directors license– carries the Key Haven address. Dean changed the address on his drivers license from Key Haven to Key West just a couple of weeks ago. Evidence provided by Dean included his voters card and a statement swearing to God that his primary address is on Bahama Street in Key West and not Key Haven.
That was enough for the Canvassing Board. The vote was 3-0.
At the heart of this residency controversy is the fact that Dean sits on two important boards– the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) and the Key West Housing Authority. Both positions require that Dean live in Key West.
For more background information, see our story in today’s Blue Paper.