Your delicious irony of the day comes from Florida and Indiana. The litigant who is trying to kill off Indiana’s voter ID law is a walking, talking case of potential voter fraud. She certainly appears to have broken the law by registering to vote in both Indiana and Florida, and by claiming homestead tax exemption in both states. But let’s re-write the law so she doesn’t have to provide proper ID before voting!
According to Ewing and Ann Nucatola, public information director for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Ewing surrendered her Indiana driver¹s license in 2000, when she moved to Florida and obtained her Florida license. Nucatola said that a driver must have a Florida address to obtain a Florida driver¹s license.
“And if they own property in two states they have to get a license that says ‘valid in Florida only,’” Nucatola said.
Ewing said Monday that her license is a “regular” one that she uses in both states. She renewed it in 2007 on a Punta Gorda, Fla. address.
At the Charlotte County, Fla. voter registration office, Sandy Wharton, vote qualifying office manager, said Ewing registered to vote in Charlotte County on Sept. 18, 2002, and signed an oath that she was a Florida resident and understood that falsifying the voter application was a third-degree felony punishable by prison and a fine up to $5,000. Wharton said her office checked Ewing’s Florida residency and qualified her on Oct. 2, 2002. On Oct. 4, 2002, they mailed her Florida voter card to her, to the West Lafayette, Ind. address that Ewing gave as a mailing address.
However, Ewing didn’t vote in Florida that year, nor has she ever voted in Charlotte County, Wharton said. But, just a month after receiving her Florida voter card, she did vote in the November 2002 elections in Tippecanoe County, Ind., according to Heather Maddox, co-director of elections and registration in Tippecanoe.
Ewing confirmed that she is registered in both states to vote, but at first said the Florida registration came automatically with her driver’s license. She repeatedly denied signing the oath on the Florida application. She also said Indiana mailed her an absentee ballot, but she didn’t use it or vote that year.
However, Heather Maddox, co-director of election registration in Tippecanoe County, said Ewing voted in Indiana in 2002, 2003 and 2004, before the Indiana ID law took effect in 2005.
When informed that the Florida voter office said she’d registered personally in 2002 for a Florida voter card, and that this newspaper had a copy of her application, Ewing said, “Well, why did I do that? I¹m confused. I can’t recall.” She reiterated that, even though she’s registered in two states, she only votes in Indiana, adding that she does have a car plated in Florida.
That doesn’t satisfy Florida officials.
“She can only be registered to vote in the place where she claims residency,² Wharton said. “You can’t be registered in two states. She has to claim one place or the other.”
Ordinarily when someone registers to vote in Florida, the state informs the election board where the applicant was previously registered. But according to Wharton, Ewing did not inform Florida that she was ever registered to vote anywhere else.
“She signed an oath saying she was a qualified elector and a legal resident of Florida,” Wharton said. “And the space where she was supposed to tell us where she was previously registered, she left blank.”
And she’s probably not alone in this.
Tuesday Ewing said the homestead “problem came up” when she married in 2002. “But that was taken care of,” she said. She also said her main residence is in Indiana, and that she pays “some” taxes in Indiana on a “small annuity” she receives.
“But I feel like I’m a victim here,” Ewing said. “I never intended to do anything wrong. I know a lot of people in Florida in this same situation – they call us ‘Snowbirds,’ you know.”
Let’s take her at her word, even though she seems to be lying to Florida officials, and accept that she never intended to do anything wrong. What about people who do intend to commit voter fraud? Uh-huh. Gee, I wonder why the Supreme Court may be showing some support for Indiana’s voter ID law.