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Records show candidate often skipped polls

By JENNIFER GOLDBLATT

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 21, 2001


NEW PORT RICHEY -- Last week, City Council candidate John DiGiorgio defended never having voted in a New Port Richey election by saying he votes only when he feels passionately about an issue or candidate. The last time that occurred, he told the Times, was in the 1996 presidential election.

But according to official records, DiGiorgio didn't vote then either. In fact, the supervisor of elections in the candidate's former home of Nassau County, N.Y., said no one with DiGiorgio's name and date of birth is registered there -- and hasn't been since 1976. According to officials with the Nassau County Board of Elections, DiGiorgio registered to vote in 1976, but his record was canceled in 1978 because he had not voted in two years.

DiGiorgio's explanations have varied since the Times first wrote about his voting record. He first said that although he moved to New Port Richey in 1994, he voted in the presidential election two years later in Suffolk County, N.Y.

Officials from the Suffolk Board of Elections had no record of someone named DiGiorgio ever voting.

DiGiorgio then told the Times that his 1996 vote was cast in Nassau County, where officials once again could not confirm his story.

On Tuesday, he said he does not know why his vote was not recorded.

"I only voted when I felt strongly about a candidate," DiGiorgio said. "There were years when I didn't vote at all, because I didn't feel that there were people that would do a good job. I don't understand why my vote in 1996 is not on record anywhere. I know that I filled out an absentee ballot. If there's no record of it, then there's no way that I can prove it.

"I guess my vote didn't count," he said. "No wonder Clinton won."

- Jennifer Goldblatt covers the city of New Port Richey. She can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6229 or (800) 333-7505, ext. 6229. Her e-mail address is goldblatt@sptimes.com.

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