With a recount in the Monroe County Commission Dist. In the third race, prosecutors are investigating a complaint that the winner of that race is not in the district at the time of voting.
The District 3 race between incumbent Mayor Heather Carruthers and winner Eddie Martinez resulted in a difference of 141 votes, requiring a recount by the Monroe County Electoral Office. The recount started Thursday and will last for several days, supervisor Joyce Griffin said.
However, prosecutors are investigating an allegation that Republican Martinez did not live in the district on election day and was not allowed to vote in that race. Such a violation would render Martinez unqualified to assume the position, as the applicable law states that the individual must “reside in the district they qualify for at the time of election.”
Casting a ballot using an address where a person no longer resides is a criminal offense under state election fraud laws.
Martinez had taken up residence in his office on Truman Avenue. On Thursday, Martinez told The Citizen that he had a new address in the district but would not disclose the address. Martinez did not say where he lived on election day, which was Tuesday.
Martinez claimed the complaint came from a “sore loser”. He also said his angry defeat to Carruthers was not part of a Republican partisan wave that swept through Monroe County, but was due to his qualifications.
Carruthers, a Democrat, said it was “sad” that the people in District 3 do not have a representative who actually lives in the district.
Ward called the allegations “serious” and his office has opened an investigation into the matter. He said he had called both the Tallahassee State Electoral Department and the Miami-Dade County Attorney’s Office, which had experience investigating such allegations regarding the complaint.