University of Louisville board chairman's Florida voter registra - WDRB 41 Louisville News

University of Louisville board chairman's Florida voter registration is disqualifying, former trustee charges

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Larry Benz, chairman of the U of L Board of Trustees Larry Benz, chairman of the U of L Board of Trustees
Former U of L trustee Ron Butt Former U of L trustee Ron Butt

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- University of Louisville Board of Trustees Chairman Larry Benz is registered to vote in Florida and voted in Florida's Republican presidential primary earlier this year.

Benz's Florida registration and voting record show he is a not a resident of Kentucky and therefore not eligible to be on the Board of Trustees, former trustee Ron Butt said Wednesday.

Butt, who resigned in protest last week over the board's willingness to sue the U of L Foundation, presented evidence of Benz's Florida registration in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.

Benz registered to vote as a Republican in 2009 in Florida and his registration remains active, according to the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections' website. Only Florida residents can register to vote in Florida. 

Benz is also registered to vote as an independent in Kentucky, according to the Kentucky Secretary of State's online database.

Benz said Wednesday that he attempted to establish residence in Florida -- where he and his wife own a home -- earlier this year but abandoned the plan after learning that he could not "qualify" for residency there. Unlike Kentucky, Florida has no state income tax.

Benz said he has filed tax returns as a resident of Kentucky since 1986 and continues to do so. 

"Ron Butt’s claims that I am a Florida resident are completely without merit," Benz said in a prepared statement. "I did look into Florida residency this past year and decided not to pursue. My taxes, driver’s license and voter registration are all in Kentucky. I will provide scanned copies of my tax returns and any other documents that attest to my proud residency of Kentucky.”

A spokesman for the Florida Division of Elections confirmed that Benz voted in the 2016 presidential primary, but said there is no record of Benz voting in any previous Florida election. Benz said he does not recall registering to vote in Florida in 2009 and is not sure how that happened.

Butt, who said he too would have had to leave the Board of Trustees because of his residency in Puerto Rico, called on Gov. Matt Bevin to remove Benz from the U of L board.

Copyright 2016 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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