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27 April 2017
Voting is a right.
The right to vote and have that vote counted should not be infringed upon in any way. Everyone has a right to have his/her vote honestly registered and counted.
The system, in most states, requires the voter to provide proof of legal residency when initially registering to vote; these states may not require proof of legal residency when changing a voting precinct from one county to another. This is left up to the honesty and integrity of the individual requesting the change.
In the interest of providing information to an informed electorate, the Cedar Key News has studied both candidates competing in the upcoming City of Cedar Key Commission election which will occur on May 2, 2017, when voters will be asked to vote for Nickie Rucker or Chris Topping.  Cedar Key News research finds a conflict between establishing legal residency and qualifying to run for city commission by Chris Topping.
The Laws of Cedar Key state that: 2.03.00. ELIGIBILITY
Each candidate for a seat must be a qualified voter who is a resident of the city for at least six months prior to the date the person qualifies to run for office.
Each commissioner and the mayor shall continuously reside within the city during their terms of office.
The intent of this Cedar Key Law was and still is, to ensure that elected officials representing the citizens of Cedar Key live in the city and not outside the city limits.
The terms “resident” and “reside” are not just words to be twisted and used to the advantage of absentee land owners. They are used to protect the citizens of Cedar Key from those who do not live here from seeking office and voting for regulations or ordinances that may not necessarily be in the best interest of the citizens.
The form used by the city is an official form called: OATH OF CANDIDATE (section 99.021, Florida Statutes.) By signing this form, the applicant is swearing that he qualifies for the office, not just by state and county regulations but also by the City of Cedar Key ordinances.
The city’s responsibility, when accepting this form, is not to the validity of the answers but to see that the form has been properly filled out. A form filled in with a P.O. Box in lieu of a person’s address, cannot be considered a properly filled out form.
The city’s responsibility should not end here. Applicants for the city commission should provide proof of their six-month residency prior to the qualifying date.
When the application form asks for an address, it means the actual address where the applicant resides, continuously, with his or her family. It doesn’t mean, a business address, a P.O. Box, an address of a recently sold house, or the address of a house still under construction.
Candidates seeking city office, and using a questionable address to establish residency, may consider this proper and ethical.
Some people may be fooled or not consider this as important. In a small town like Cedar Key, not everyone is fooled and many people think it is important.

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