Baltimore Press

Mfume Lived in County, Voted in City

Kweisi Mfume, a possible candidate for Mayor, voted in City elections while he was a resident of Baltimore County.
City elections records show that Mfume was registered to vote at 3403 Hilton Road from 1971 until April 15, 1999, when his formal residence was changed in voting records to the Harbor Court condominiums at 10 Lee Street.
However, Mfume bought and moved into a $345,000 house in Catonsville on January 30, 1995. At the time of that purchase, he signed mortgage documents that indicated that the Catonsville house would be used as his primary residence, and he actually resided in that property until very recently

Using the 3403 Hilton Road address, Mfume voted in elections in Baltimore City in 1996 and 1998, according to records on file at the City Board of Elections Supervisors. The County Board has no record of Mfume being registered to vote in Baltimore County.

John White, press secretary for the NAACP and spokesman for Mfume, explains that Mfume “thought it was OK” to vote in city elections. White explained that Mfume owned another city property at 3511 Hilton Road, near his former residence, and “he doesn’t know why the voting card wasn’t changed” to reflect the other Hilton Road address.
State law requires any registered voter who moves from the address specified in voter’s records to notify the appropriate election board of a change of address within 30 days of the voter’s move. State election laws make it a criminal misdemeanor to “vote or attempt to vote in any election district or precinct without having a legal right to vote therein.” The offense, described as “false voting”, is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 or by imprisonment of up to 5 years. The law is often violated and seldom enforced in Baltimore, however.

According to NAACP spokesman White, Mfume sold his second Hilton j Road property in October 1999. The date for changing registration had passed, and Mfume was unable to change his registration to reflect his remaining Baltimore County address before the 1998 election, White said.

Mfume’s place of residence was an issue during this winter’s session of the General Assembly when the residency requirement for the Mayor was reduced from 1 year to 6 months in order to accommodate a possible Mfume bid for the office. Although Mfume has repeatedly denied being interested in running for the post, a well-organized draft movement has been formed, and he is reported to be close to deciding to enter the race. Mfume currently is CEO and National President of the NAACP. He represented West Baltimore in the U.S. House of Representatives for a decade, and before that, was a City Councilman from the 4th District.

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