A candidate for Jacksonville’s City Council District 7 special election may have voted illegally at least four times in the last two years, according to voting records.
Since 2020, Reggie Gaffney Jr., the son of Jacksonville Councilman Reggie Gaffney, voted four times while registered at a nonprofit where he works, even though both he and his dad told The Tributary the two Gaffneys live together somewhere else.
On July 15, while The Tributary was reporting this story, Gaffney Jr. changed his registration to his dad’s address, where he and his dad now say he has lived for years.
While both his dad’s address and his workplace are in Council District 7, it is illegal to use a different address other than your residence on your voter registration.
“A business address is not a satisfactory legal residential address,” said Mark Ard, a Florida Department of State spokesman said in an email. “However, although not the rule, if the person is able to prove residence there despite the zoning ordinance, a fact-finding body could determine that the business address is the person’s legal residential address.”
Registering to vote somewhere other than your residential address is a third-degree felony.
Gaffney Jr. isn’t the only candidate facing scrutiny over his residency. On Thursday, the Tributary revealed T.K. Waters, a leading candidate for sheriff, doesn’t live at the Nocatee home where he’s registered to vote. Waters, who changed his registration four years ago when he moved out of his Nocatee home, said that he had “inadvertently kept my voter registration at a previous address”.
Gaffney Jr. changing his address meant his precinct had also changed, and it allowed him to vote in the 2020 Democratic primary for House District 13. That year, Democratic Rep. Tracie Davis faced a primary opponent. Davis and the older Gaffney are now facing off in a Democratic primary for state senate.
Gaffney also repeatedly signed petitions for ballot initiatives and candidates while registered at Community Rehabilitation Center where he serves as vice president.
Neither of the Gaffneys could explain why the younger Gaffney changed his voter registration in 2020 to the nonprofit, which is zoned for industrial use. Neither claimed the younger Gaffney actually lived there.
When asked how long he has lived at his dad’s home, Reggie Gaffney Jr. told The Tributary and First Coast News, “I’m fixing to go into a meeting.” He promised to call back last Friday at 5 p.m. but never did.
Instead, the 37-year-old’s father did.
“Maybe he [changed his registration] to show some of those consumers how to do it and didn’t think it was a problem,” Gaffney Sr. said. Gaffney Sr. said that the nonprofit sometimes helped people without permanent addresses register to vote using the center’s address.
Robert Phillips, the Duval County chief elections officer, said it’s not unusual for transient voters without a permanent residence to register with a nonprofit’s address. Many people without a permanent address also register by using the Supervisor of Elections Office’s address.
Gaffney Jr., however, did not claim to be transient.
When Gaffney Jr. first registered to vote in 2006, he used a Daytona Lane address. In 2008, he changed his registration to his father’s home. In 2009, he changed to a Rhode Island Drive address. In 2010, he changed back to his father’s home. Then in 2020, before the August primary, he changed to the address for Community Rehabilitation Center, where he remained registered until last month.
Gaffney used the nonprofit’s address when he voted in the 2020 August primaries and general election, and then he voted again in the City Council at-large special election and runoff, voting records showed.
The Gaffneys’ neighbors said the two have lived together for years.
“His son is very mannerable,” said Delbra Tutson. “He cuts the grass.”
In September 2021, Gaffney Jr. sold the Daytona Lane home, and on the deed, he said that he had been living there. In July 2021, Gaffney Jr. also sold a Ribault Scenic Drive home. He currently isn’t listed as the owner of any homes in Duval County.
Campaign contribution records also showed that Reggie Gaffney Jr. listed his dad’s address as his own when he donated to a 2012 campaign for Republican state Sen. Aaron Bean. However, when his dad’s 2019 campaign paid him $16,000 for “CAMPAIGN BONUS”, it listed a different home, even though the younger Gaffney was not registered to vote there.
Gaffney Sr. told a reporter that his son, who is the vice president of Community Rehabilitation Center, currently lives with him because “we don’t have the money that you or others have.” Gaffney Jr. earned $66,700 in 2021, according to a financial disclosure, and his father earned $123,000 in 2020, according to another disclosure.
Duval County’s median earnings were $34,514, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey from 2016 through 2020.