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  1. Florida Politics

Lynn's driver's licenses in D.C. and Florida complicate his voting registration

Eric Lynn is the only Democrat in the race for Congressional District 13. 


Eric Lynn is the only Democrat in the race for Congressional District 13. 
Published Jul. 18, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG — Eric Lynn says he always intended to move back to Florida.

Even as he spent nearly a half-dozen years in Washington, D.C., as an official in the U.S. Department of Defense in President Barack Obama's administration, Lynn continued to vote and kept an active Bar membership in Florida.

But it's not clear if Lynn, who is the only Democrat so far in the race for the soon-to-be-redrawn 13th Congressional District, was eligible to vote in Florida during this period.

In the 2010 state primary and general election, Lynn voted by mail. But he swapped his Florida driver's license for a D.C. license the previous year.

Living in Washington at the time, Lynn had to show proof he intended to live in Florida if he wanted to vote. The Florida Division of Elections lists criteria for establishing such intent.

First on the list? A Florida license.

Without that license, it's unclear how Lynn qualified to vote in Florida in 2010.

His campaign couldn't immediately say if he met any other benchmarks such as utility bills, taxes or "other activities indicative or normally associated with home life."

Lynn bought a D.C. home in 2007. In 2013, he bought a second home in Maryland.

During his stint in the nation's capital, Lynn frequently traveled back to Seminole to visit family, said Bill Burton, a campaign adviser.

"Eric is a proud Floridian, has always been a proud Floridian and even told the president when he appointed him to serve at the Pentagon that he would be honored to do so and would then return back home to Florida," Burton said in a statement Friday.

Lynn renewed his Florida license in 2012.

Problem is, his D.C. license remained active.

Those using a driver's license as their proof of residency "cannot have two valid driver licenses for different states at the same time," according to state guidelines.

State election officials declined to comment Friday on whether Lynn ran afoul of voting registration technicalities. They are reviewing an election fraud complaint filed this week by a St. Petersburg man who alleges Lynn illegally voted in the state. Lynn did not register to vote in D.C. or Maryland.

Burton said Lynn turned over his D.C. license when he renewed his Florida license in April 2012, so it shouldn't be active. But D.C. officials confirmed that the license was active as of Friday.

It's the second time in a week that Lynn's campaign has excused an apparent violation of the law on a D.C. bureaucratic error. After the Times notified Lynn that both his homes benefited from homestead exemptions, a double tax break that is illegal, his campaign blamed a D.C. tax office for not properly processing a request to have one of the exemptions removed.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Contact Charlie Frago at cfrago@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow @CharlieFrago.

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