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Aqueduct Authority chairman Dean's Key West election vote to get scrutiny from Canvassing Board Friday

J. Robert Dean might have voted illegally again. The Key West Canvassing Board takes up the issue Friday.
J. Robert Dean might have voted illegally again. The Key West Canvassing Board takes up the issue Friday.

Despite concerns over his residency, Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority board chairman J. Robert Dean voted in Tuesday's Key West election via provisional ballot.

Now it's up to Key West's Canvassing Board, made up of city commissioners Clayton Lopez and Jimmy Weekley and City Clerk Cheri Smith, to vet his vote. The board, charged with validating the results of city elections, will take up the issue when it meets Friday.

A voter uses a provisional ballot when there are questions about his or her eligibility to vote.

"Nobody has actually stepped up. They're kind of dumping this on us," Lopez said of the legal issues Dean's residency raise.

Dean, 85, and his wife have a homesteaded house in Key Haven, which is outside Key West in unincorporated Monroe County and the district he represents for the FKAA. He maintains his main residence is on Bahama Street, within the city. That, he says, allows him to vote in city elections.

At its Sept. 25 meeting, the FKAA board voted to direct Executive Director Kirk Zuelch to send Dean's residency issue to Gov. Rick Scott's office for interpretation. Dean said after the meeting that would resign if the Scott administration and/or Key West city officials have issues with his residency.

The FKAA chairman has voted in city elections since 2004.

While the Monroe County State Attorney's Office declined to charge Dean with a third-degree felony for allegedly voting illegally since 2004, State Attorney Catherine Vogel filed a challenge to his residency with Supervisor of Elections Joyce Griffin.

"All indications are that the efficiency is being used for emergency or convenience accommodation when needed for him on a temporary basis, and does not meet the definition of a permanent residency," Chief Investigator Chris Weber wrote in a Sept. 16 investigative report.

Dean's voter registration lists 417 Bahama St. in Key West as his address, but his $50,000 homestead exemption and numerous legal documents list his address as 14 W. Cypress Terrace in Key Haven.

Dean declined to comment Tuesday. "I'd rather wait til afterwards," he said.

Lopez and Weekley are waiting for Friday's meeting. Smith declined comment.

"I haven't seen all of the evidence," Weekley said.

Key West's Canvassing Board meets at the Supervisor of Elections office on Whitehead Street Friday at 10 a.m.

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