Residency might seem minor except for that perjury angle

Andrew Martin joined a long line of candidates who live outside their districts. But he’s the first to get elected after a judge found he didn’t live in the district.

Apparently Nevada voters don’t care where you live. Only rivals care. Martin, now Assemblyman Martin, had a condo within District 9 and a larger home outside the district. He swore he lived in the condo.

Most scofflaws who file when they don’t actually live in their district are bounced from the ballot ahead of time. Their opponents hire private investigators and rely on the courts to remove the candidate. My favorite court ruling was the Nevada Supreme Court’s decision that a man’s home is where his cat lives. The cat lived outside the district.

In Martin’s case, his home was deemed to be the one where video surveillance showed he plugged in his electric car nightly, the house outside the district. Despite District Judge Rob Bare deciding on election eve that Martin didn’t live in the district and thus wasn’t qualified to win the race, Martin not only won in the heavily Democratic district but is being seated Feb. 4 in the Legislature without much fuss.

His Republican opponent, Kelly Hurst, can gnash his teeth over being defeated by someone unqualified to run, but Hurst lacked the money to pursue the issue. Hurst also correctly assumed the Assembly would seat Martin because there are far more Democrats than Republicans and the Assembly makes the final call whether to seat a legislator.

Over the years, plenty of lawmakers spent more time living outside their district, with few objections if they had a home within the district.

Assemblyman Morse Arberry Jr. was the classic case. He had a home in North Las Vegas, but it was well-known he didn’t live there. He lived in Canyon Gate some of the time. His constituents didn’t object.

There is this little question of perjury. Candidates sign an oath under penalty of perjury saying they have lived in the district for at least 30 days before filing.

Residency became a huge deal in 2006 when Clark County Commissioner Lynette Boggs McDonald was divorcing. The Republican said she lived in a small condo within the district.

But private investigator David Groover, an expert in residency investigations, videotaped her in a pink bathrobe outside a larger home slightly outside the district.

Private investigators were able to show Martin and McDonald spending more time in larger, more comfortable homes outside their districts than in more modest homes inside the district. It was clear the smaller homes were shills.

Both faced legal challenges. Martin’s foe filed a complaint Oct. 2. The case was reassigned Oct. 11 to Bare. What should have been a fast-tracked hearing wasn’t. Bare had an evidentiary hearing Nov. 2, then ruled Nov. 5 that Martin wasn’t a candidate. The election was the next day. The late decision meant early voters had cast their ballots. A case filed Sept. 7, 2006, questioning McDonald’s residency never had a hearing before the November election when she was crushed by Susan Brager, aided by the Culinary and police unions.

Later she was indicted on misdemeanor charges and pleaded no contest to filing a false statement regarding residency. (The misdemeanor didn’t block her from going to law school and passing the bar in Texas recently.)

As far as I’m concerned, Democrat Martin and Republican McDonald (now Lynette Boggs) are liars, aided by squishy residency laws.

It’s hard to understand why people keep committing perjury. Is it worth the embarrassment of a ruined reputation after they’re found out?

Doper/cyclist Lance Armstrong won’t win forgiveness from me, no matter how sorry he is. He’s a longtime liar. End of story.

Jane Ann Morrison’s column appears Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Email her at Jane@reviewjournal.com or call her at 702-383-0275. She blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/Morrison.

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