Saturday, March 10, 2012

Florida Homestead Claims An Issue For Temporary Bay State Residents Registered To Vote In Massachusetts

In Essex, Massachusetts, the Gloucester Times reports:

  • Town voting officials are once again examining Essex's voting rolls with evidence that at least four people who are registered to vote in Essex, including a town official, claim primary residence in Florida, according to public records.

  • Steven and Margaret Hartley and Kristine and John True have filed for homestead exemptions on their Florida residences, which offer tax breaks as well as legal protections that can be applied only to a primary residence. Yet all four are registered to vote in Essex, records show.

  • A homestead exemption in the state of Florida prevents a home from being seized as part of bankruptcy filing, and protects the owner from being forced out of his or her home to cover debts, including potential long-term, health care needs. It also comes with substantial tax benefits: it allows the taxpayer to deduct $50,000 from the assessed value of the home, lowering the tax bill.


  • Both the Hartleys and the Trues are residents of Conomo Point, which is officially designated as summer housing only. Neither the Trues nor the Hartleys have another residence in Essex, and neither couple has permission to live on Conomo Point year-round.

For more, see Florida papers raise new red flags over Essex voting.

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