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Trying to make sense of Jessica Ehrlich’s questionable, spotty voting record

By on October 12, 2012

Put aside for a moment the back-and-forth between this blog and Jessica Ehrlich’s campaign about claims of resume padding and review her voting record, the most basic indication of one’s readiness to serve in public office.

A candidate for Congress should have a near-perfect, if not perfect, record of participation in the electoral process, right?

Well, by that standard, what does Jessica Ehrlich’s questionable, spotty voting record say about her readiness to serve in Congress?

According to Nancy Whitlock of the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections’ office, Ehrlich did not vote in Florida in 2010, in either the primary or general election.

Ehrlich also missed voting in primary elections in 2004, 2006 and 2008.

Here is a snapshot of Ehrlich’s voting record from WebElect, the campaign data service:

Beyond missing votes, it’s how Ehrlich voted that also raises questions. Ehrlich voted absentee in the general elections of 2004, 2006 and 2008. She was in law school through 2005, so voting absentee in Florida makes sense.

But by 2006, Ehrlich was a full-time employee of the U.S. Congress, working for Congressman Clay Shaw from May to December of 2006. She was living permanently in the metro DC area.

In 2008, she was still employed on the Hill and living permanently in the DC area, working for Rep. Stephen Lynch.  According to Legistorm, Ehrlich’s employment with Lynch ended January 2, 2009.

Florida election law defines a qualified voter as someone who, among other qualifications is a ‘legal resident’ of the state and county in which they vote.  Florida statutes define ‘residency’ as occupying a home or ‘establishing domicile’, with the latter requiring the individual to maintain a ‘place of abode’ with the intent to continue such ‘place of abode’ as his/her permanent home.

This is at best a gray area for Ehrlich.  Did she actually maintain a permanent home in Pinellas and a second home in Washington while she was working on the Hill (two homes on a Hill staffer salary?), and likewise maintain two homes when she was later working for Bloomberg in New York?

Her entire record smacks of political opportunism.

Ehrlich announced her run for Congress on February 27, 2012.  On February 27, 2012, her physical address was at a “penthouse” in New York City.  By August, she had updated her mailing address to 22nd Avenue in St. Petersburg.

Did Ehrlich move back to St. Pete simply to run for Congress?  Why didn’t she run from her home in New York?

The answers to these questions, and more important, an examination of Ehrlich’s voting record clearly indicates that she fails to meet the basic threshold of an unofficial requirement for serving in public office. That is, you know, actually voting in the elections which decide who serves in those offices.

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