Top city official votes in Boston, has home in ’burbs - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Top city official votes in Boston, has home in ’burbs

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FOX UNDERCOVER -- The city of Boston issued an online warning telling former residents they may not vote in today's mayoral election if they have moved out of the city even if they are still registered.
            
The warning comes on the heels of a FOX Undercover investigation that found several former residents had voted in the city's September preliminary election. And now FOX Undercover has found another example of questionable voting, this time involving a top city official who has lived in Westwood for years but who votes in Boston.
            
FOX Undercover watched on Monday as Elmo Baldassari, deputy commissioner at the Boston Public Works Department, left work at the end of the day and drove to a 2,208 square-foot home in Westwood he owns.
            
But the next morning, he voted shortly after 7 a.m. at St. George's church in West Roxbury – the polling location for the diminutive condominium he owns in West Roxbury.
            
"We're doing a story on voting, and we're wondering why you voted in Boston when you live in Westwood?" FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet asked him today.
            
"I live in West Roxbury. Fourteen Heron Street," Baldassari replied.
            
"How often do you actually sleep there?" Beaudet asked him.
            
"Four nights a week," Baldassari replied.
            
Baldassari bought the Westwood home in 1981, property records show. It's where three other family members are still registered to vote.
            
Baldassari was a registered voter in Westwood until 2001, when he switched to Boston. That's when he got a job working for the city, which has its own residency requirement for employees.
            
Now Baldassari says he sleeps four nights a week at the West Roxbury condo, which at 872-square foot is just 40 percent of the size of his Westwood home.
            
"So is this a way just to get around the city residency laws?" Beaudet asked him.
            
"No it's not," he replied.
            
"When's the last time you actually slept in West Roxbury?" Beaudet asked.
            
"I was there last night, sir. Thank you," Baldassari replied.
            
The questions over Baldassari come just days after FOX Undercover asked the city about other people who voted in the preliminary election for mayor in September, including two Boston firefighters, James Greatorex and Michael Leonard, both of whom own homes in Reading.
            
The two firefighters insisted they both actually live in Charlestown, which is where they voted from in September. However, they both signed homestead declarations for their homes in Reading, saying those homes north of Boston are their primary residence. Both men claimed they were separated from their wives, and that it was their wives who live in the Reading homes.
            
Anonymous viewer tips started FOX Undercover's investigation, but the city says it's not interested in hearing from nameless dime-droppers.
            
"Anonymous tips can always be a little shady," said Geraldine Cuddyer, chair of the Boston Elections Commission, "And quite frankly, we only have 22 full time staff. So I don't have people to go out and do that."
            
Questions about a voter's residency must ultimately be decided by settling where the voter's domicile is -- the main place he or she lives.            

Anyone can challenge someone's residency and whether their vote should count, a complaint which forces the city or town to investigate.
            
Separately, the city's residency rules for employees require they be in the city four nights a week, but residency requirements allow people to have second homes.

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