Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Can Zephyr Teachout Survive Cuomo's Ballot Challenge?

Not a good day in court for Zephyr Teachout:

By law, Teachout needs to have lived here in New York for the last five years in order to run for governor. Connor called Teachhout as his first witness and proceeded to ask about her various addresses over the time period. Fairly quickly it was established that Teachout obtained a Vermont Driver’s license in 2009 – the first year she would have had to be living here to meet the requirement. Teachout then traded in her Vermont license for a New York one in May 2014, or right around the time she was deciding to run for governor.

During her early days in New York, Teachout lived with a friend in the East Village and didn’t obtain a residence of her own until 2011. She often cited her parents address in Vermont as her permanent address, and received her mail at her Fordham University office.

As late as 2013, after being stopped for a traffic infraction, Teachout provided the police officer with a Vermont address.

There are very few bills with New York addresses ( if any ) to prove New York residency, and for the last three summers she has lived in a cabin in Vermont where she participated in musical theater productions. Some of this was first reported last month. Also this past May, Teachout apparently visited her accountant and amended tax returns to reflect a permanent New York presence.

To top it all off, her cell phone has a Vermont area code.

Finally, and this was my favorite point, the only property Teachout has owned recently was in New Hampshire where she “flies hang gliders,” according to her testimony.

Can Teachout stay on the ballot having no permanent New York residence, few bills paid from a New York address, a Vermont driver's license she obtained in 2009 and didn't amend to a New York license until May of this year, and tax returns filed in Vermont, including one in 2009 in which she wrote she had lived for "zero months" in New York?

A commenter at State of Politics wrote:

The bottom line: where she owns real estate, the area code of her cell phone, the address on her driver's license, and the address of the theatre company she acted have very little to do with proving residency. Was she living in NY for at least 183 days of the year or not during these 5 years? Did she have some sort of abode or series of abodes (even a room in a friend's apartment) in NY during these 5 years? Seems very likely, give her job at Fordham, she passes these 2 tests. If Mr. Fink understood residency laws better, he would think things look a lot better for Teachout. She will win this. This is another misstep by Cuomo.

And another one wrote:

She apparently was teaching at Fordham throughout that period, unless you imagine that the school and whoever had her as a professor are in on the "conspiracy." I don't think anyone is saying that she has deep roots in New York, she clearly moved here in 2009 but if she was living here most of the year then she should be considered a resident. Many people have summer vacation homes in other states so I don't think it's particularly relevant that she went back to Vermont for the summer.

Given the evidence that came out in court today, I'm skeptical that she can survive the ballot challenge.

Hope I'm wrong.

But won't be surprised if she's tossed off the ballot.

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