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Judge affirms Andrews' right to vote

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By The Staff

Circuit Judge David O. Glant has issued his order affirming A.D. “Andy” Andrews’ right to vote in Chiefland city elections, as he verbally ruled in November.

Andrews, publisher of the Levy County Journal and a tree farmer, sought a declaratory judgment affirming his right to vote one year ago.

The case was filed in the wake of a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation into possible voting irregularities. The investigation, which did not result in any prosecutions, was prompted by a complaint filed by former Chiefland City Commissioner Alice Monyei who lost her seat in the city’s 2007 elections.

Andrews asked the court to affirm that his intent is to have his residence in the city of Chiefland at his business office at 13 S. First Street, a business office. Andrews said in a deposition that he sleeps in a recliner or on the floor at his office once or twice a month, that he receives personal mail at a post office box in Chiefland and also has the First Street address listed for his driver license and motor vehicles.

Andrews owns a home in Gainesville with his wife, Barbara, but has said repeatedly that the house was purchased so Mrs. Andrews can be close to medical treatment she needs for a life-threatening condition. There is no homestead exemption claimed on the home.

During arguments in a hearing, attorneys said the federal mortgage tax deduction is claimed on returns because the home is “his wife’s home.” The statements cannot be verified as Andrews’ and his accountants’ depositions were sealed by the court and are due to be returned to them or destroyed 60 days after Glant’s order.

Glant’s order said those facts were not disputed by the defendants, Chiefland City Manager Grady Hartzog, Levy County Supervisor of Elections Connie Asbell and Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning.

“Nothing in the presentation of this case disproves or negates the legal residence asserted by Plaintiff, Mr. Andrews,” Glant’s order said.