In September 2019, just as he was changing his domicile of record from New York to Florida, Donald Trump filled out a voter registration form in his new state in which he stated that his "legal residence" was 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C. Registering to vote in Florida using an out-of-state address is a violation of Florida law, the Washington Post notes.
Trump also listed his mailing address as his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, directing that election-related mailings should be sent to him there courtesy of "Sean McCabe." McCabe, the president and general manager of Trump Florida Properties, spells his first name "Shawn."
A month later, Trump filed a new registration application changing the legal residence to Mar-a-Lago. He voted absentee in Florida in the state's March 2020 primary.
Marc Elias, a lawyer specializing in elections and voting, tweeted in response to the Post report, "It is looking more and more like @realDonaldTrump may have committed absentee ballot fraud in Florida."
Florida's voter registration form carries a criminal offense warning that states, "It is a third degree felony to submit false information. Maximum penalties are $5,000 and/or 5 years in prison."
Republicans have for years falsely claimed voter fraud is a widespread problem in the United States. It isn't, according to experts who study the issue.
Republican-controlled legislatures have passed strict voter identification laws that they claim are intended to prevent fraud, but that voting rights advocates say ultimately disenfranchise minority voters.
After Democratic victories in the 2018 midterm elections, GOP-controlled legislatures moved to restrict voter registration, such as Texas' introduction in April 2019 of a bill that would criminalize putting incorrect information on a voter registration form. That, of course, is what Trump did in Florida.
The Texas Election Code includes a section that says knowingly providing "false information on an application for ballot by mail" is a crime.
Trump's official state of residence has been an issue since he first changed it from New York to Florida.
He listed Mar-a-Lago as his permanent residence for tax purposes, even though in 1993 he vowed he would not live there and instead designated the mansion as a "private club," according to the Post. Disputes over the legal and tax ramifications of that promise, and of his current designation of Mar-a-Lago as his legal residence, continue in Palm Beach.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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