Supervisor of Elections, Joyce Griffin, confirms that FKAA Board Chairman Bob Dean voted in the City election during the early voting period that ended Saturday.
Dean was given a “provisional ballot” in light of the "Voter Challenge" filed by State Attorney Catherine Vogel last month.
A State Attorney investigation concluded last month that Mr. Dean resided in Key Haven and not in Key West and that he therefore should not be allowed to vote in City elections.
Vogel decided, at the time, not to prosecute Dean for voter fraud, a third degree felony, giving him the benefit of the doubt as to his possible criminal intent because, she concluded, Chairman Dean might have, in the past, relied on bad advice from former Supervisor of Elections, Harry Sawyer.
Now that Dean has voted again after being fully warned, before this election, the question remains as to whether the State Attorney is going to press criminal charges. At press time an email query sent to the State Attorney had not yet been answered.
Under Florida Statute, to remain in control of the FKAA board, Mr. Dean must be a Key West resident. In a criminal case, a jury would have to decide whether Dean committed voter fraud, with full knowledge, in an effort to keep his powerful position on the FKAA board. Voter fraud is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Dean’s attorney, Michael Halpern, wants the issue to be decided by the Key West Canvassing Board, not in a criminal proceeding. The Canvassing Board is comprised of two City Commissioners, Jimmy Weekly and Clayton Lopez, and the City Clerk, Cheri Smith.
Dean is also a prominent figure on the Key West Housing Authority Board of Directors. Since the Housing Authority rules over the lives of a considerable number of Commissioner Clayton Lopez’ constituents in Bahama Village, we asked Commissioner Lopez, last week, if he would be concerned about getting on Mr. Dean’s “bad side.” At press time we had not yet received a response.
The Canvassing Board is expected to hear the State Attorney’s challenge to Bob Dean’s right to vote on Friday morning at the office of the Supervisor of Elections, 530 Whitehead Street, #101. The meeting is open to the public.
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