Non Residents May Be Voting In City Election - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

05/11/06 - Corrigan

Non Residents May Be Voting In City Election

by Donna McCollum

When you register to vote you affirm you're not giving any false information. But far too often people give fake addresses to try and vote in a town where they don't even live.

There's a mayor's election in Corrigan intended for the residents of Corrigan. Vanessa Cotton and her husband live there and voted. So you can imagine the surprise when they saw that Ray Neil Bostick listed their address as his residency. Vanessa Cotton looked at the roster and said, "That's my address,and no he doesn't live here with us. No he doesn't."

The junior high principal was questioned about the address he used on the voting roster. He said if a mistake has been made it would be corrected. He offered no explanation and then denied an interview.

Polk County tax office says Bostick lives outside the Corrigan city limits. He lived at the Cotton's residence a long time ago, but never changed his residency. Cotton questions if it was an honest mistake. "He did [live here] at one time. The people we bought the house from I believe they bought it from him and his wife, but that's been several years ago. We've lived here for three years."

There are other discrepancies. The owner of one house lists it as his residency even though he lives somewhere else and leases it. Another man lists his business as his residency. His son told us his father doesn't live there, but he's used the same address for 34 years. That's fine, but it shouldn't be used as a residency, which according to Nacogdoches County election administrator Debra Gaston means, "Where you live and that's defined by the Secretary of State's office as your actual residence."

Depending on how tough election workers are you may get away with using a wrong address. By law election workers must allow a person to vote if they present the correct credentials even if they suspect false information. Investigations usually aren't conducted until a challenge or complaint are filed. If you're caught in a lie you could end up in prison and pay a hefty fine. Gaston explained, "All the liability for an act such as this is on the applicant. It is giving false information to procure voter registration is perjury."

For Cotton it diminishes her idea of a fair election. "It's not gonna be counted right. It's not going to be fair. To the people who are running and it's kind of aggravating to me, " she said before walking back into her rightful residency.

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