WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump may be violating his agreement with Palm Beach, Florida, by claiming his resort there as his home, but that does not affect his ability to claim it as his legal residence for voting purposes, the county’s top elections official said Monday.
In 1993, Trump agreed that if Palm Beach let him convert Mar-a-Lago from a private estate to a social club, no member, including himself, would be permitted to stay at the property more than 21 days a year and no more than seven days at a time.
Last year, nevertheless, he registered to vote in Florida using Mar-a-Lago as the “address where you live,” and, in fact, cast a mail-in ballot from there in the March presidential primary.
His apparent reneging on his promise, though, does not affect his registration, according to Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link. “That is between him and the town of Palm Beach,” she said.
Officials from the town, which covers a 12-mile stretch of the barrier island at the eastern edge of the county between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, did not respond to multiple HuffPost queries.
Link said that Trump is permitted to vote in his home state as previous presidents have done. Trump publicly announced his move from New York City to Palm Beach last year, and she said she had no reason to question its validity. She said that registration forms are flagged for declaring a residence in a commercially zoned area, but even those are accepted if voters declare, under penalty of perjury, that it is actually their residence.
For example, a hotel manager who lives at a hotel is permitted to use that business address to register, just as a homeless person who declares that he lives under a particular bridge.
“Zoning doesn’t allow one to live under a bridge, either,” she said. “The question is: Where do you live? Where does the person intend to make their residence for voting purposes?”
Glenn Zeitz, a lawyer and part-time Palm Beach resident working to block Trump’s recent attempts to build a dock at Mar-a-Lago, called Link’s argument a “stretch” because Trump has not previously lived in Florida and cannot under the terms of his agreement with the town live at Mar-a-Lago now.
“He is being treated no differently than a homeless person? And a homeless person living under a bridge is being treated no differently than the president of the United States?” he laughed. “It’s a stretch alright.”
Trump has in recent months been attacking mail voting, falsely claiming it was rife with fraud and a Democratic scheme to cheat, even though he and his top aides have used it themselves.
In March, Trump’s ballot was picked up from the elections office by a Republican operative ― even though Trump and other Republicans regularly accuse Democrats of “harvesting” ballots using political activists. White House officials have refused to explain how the ballot got to the White House and then back to Florida, where it was hand-delivered the day before the March 17 primary.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany similarly has voted by mail, including in the 2018 Florida primary and general elections using her parents’ home address in Tampa even though she was living and working in Washington, D.C., at the time and carrying a New Jersey driver’s license. That document is available only to residents of New Jersey. McEnany did not respond to HuffPost queries.
And presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway ― who last month said that if people could wait in line an hour to buy designer cupcakes, then they should also be able to wait in line to vote ― nevertheless cast her own 2018 midterm ballot in New Jersey by mail.