Waiting in a grocery checkout line in Southampton Village this rainy Saturday morning, I heard the following conversation between the two people in front of me:
Person A: “I haven’t seen you since September.”
Person B: “Well, we were down south. You know, we’re full-time residents of Florida now. We came up here Thursday and are going back on Monday.”
Person A: “So you won’t be here for the village elections in a couple of weeks?”
Person B: “No, but I got an absentee ballot, which I’ll mail in this week.”
I’m not lawyer, but I’m pretty sure that people who describe themselves in casual conversation with friends as full-time residents of another state may not legally vote in Southampton Village elections. You may own property here, but property ownership is neither a necessary nor sufficient qualification for voting.
I hope Person B understands this. I also hope Person B understands that both requesting an absentee ballot and submitting that ballot are matters of public record. Such records can be reviewed by any person, requested on an inter-agency basis by New York State authorities confirming residency, or subpoenaed by district attorneys investigating election fraud.
If you do not reside or intend to reside in Southampton Village full time, and particularly if you are an out-of-state resident, you may want to do yourself a favor by not requesting an absentee ballot. And if you have already requested one, don’t compound any legal exposure by submitting it.
One fine body…