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Old 28-03-2016, 11:57   #1
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Voting address vs permanent address

I have a question that I have not seen directly addressed in the forum. At least I could not find it with search. We are transitioning to full time liveaboard status next month. Based on the advice on the forum, we have set up an address with St Brendan's Isle. We plan on making that our permanent address. However, for the next few years we plan on staying at Regatta Pointe Marina in Palmetto, Fl. During that time we would like to be able to vote for the local legislators where we live rather than in Green Cove where the mail goes.

Our thought was that all of the business mail (banks, personal correspondence,etc) would go to St Brendan's, but we would also use a local PO box(the marina does not accept USPS mail) as our legal address (driver's license, voter registration). There is no income tax in Florida, so it should not matter for salary. Currently the boat is documented and registered in Palmetto.

Does anyone have experience using two addresses like this? Any advice would be appreciated.

Robert Thompson
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Old 28-03-2016, 13:07   #2
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Re: Voting address vs permanent address

I don't believe the DMV or voter reg will accept a P.O. Box as an address. You only have one residence, which is where you can vote. This was a post 9/11 thing, and it has gotten quite a bit tighter. So just don't even think of St. Brendan's as your address if you want to vote locally or get a DL from somewhere besides St. Brendan's. I do know that different marinas and counties handle this differently. What I have read is that if your marina allows it, and you get mail there, you use their address as your street address and your berth number like an apartment number. Sometimes the DMV doesn't like this because it is a "commercial address" in their system, but most of them seem to accept some form of the marina + berth. You will just have to take all your documentation to the DMV and work with them.

If you have a mailing address, there really isn't much point to St. Brendan's. It just puts an uneccesary middle man between you and your mail.
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Old 28-03-2016, 14:12   #3
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Re: Voting address vs permanent address

Sorry, just re-read that you can't get mail at your marina. I think that is going to be more work.

Check your county website for how they handle this. In mine, I would need a Florida DL or ID first. That would mean either getting one in St. Brendan's county or my county if my DMV will use the marina address and a separate mailing address. Worth a try, right?

Then, my county says if you have no permanent address but intend to reside in the county you can petition to be registered at the general office for elections. So that would be your precinct.

Doable, just more trouble than if the marina accepted mail.
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Old 28-03-2016, 15:03   #4
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Re: Voting address vs permanent address

Firstly, I'd stop using the term permanent address for the St Brendens address. They are just your mail forwarder and the address is your mailing address. You can then setup your residence address wherever you actually reside or if you go offshore where the last state of residence was.
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Old 28-03-2016, 19:53   #5
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Re: Voting address vs permanent address

I've been using St. Brendan's Isle for years. When I set everything up with them (drivers license, cell phone bill, etc.) I went to the Clay County voter registration office and they issued me a voter registration card using the registrar's address. Look at it this way, even "homeless" people get to vote.
Never had a problem.
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Old 28-03-2016, 20:29   #6
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Re: Voting address vs permanent address

We also are leaving in June. House is on contract. We will have no address. Is there a reason to use a service like St Brendan's as opposed to having our daughter handle mail in Colorado? How/where do we vote? Are we reduced to the Fed election only?
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Old 28-03-2016, 21:31   #7
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Re: Voting address vs permanent address

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
We also are leaving in June. House is on contract. We will have no address. Is there a reason to use a service like St Brendan's as opposed to having our daughter handle mail in Colorado? How/where do we vote? Are we reduced to the Fed election only?
The advantage of SBI is that they are a very professional outfit and reasonably priced. They will scan the outside of each envelope received and you can see it on their website. Then if you want you can have them scan the contents for very reasonable. Just takes the hassle out of having family handle it.

You will still be a resident of the last state you had residency in and can generally setup absentee mail-in ballots.
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Old 29-03-2016, 12:55   #8
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Re: Voting address vs permanent address

Hi Robert,

If you haven't already, I recommend posing your question to SBI as well. They are very clear and knowledgable on how to handle seeming disparities in residency locations. [They are retired sailors/cruisers, so therefore fully understand...] And we set the extreme example living [for now] in Alaska...

We have 3 addresses [2 in Alaska, 1 in Florida...]: a street address in one city, a PO Box in another city where we slip the boat, and SBI [where most mail goes...] You just have to juggle to suit. The street and PO Box are mainly used for items we order and want direct shipped. All mail goes to SBI and with their scanning service, we rarely need anything forwarded right now. (That will change once we relocate beyond our existing local addresses.)

Once we sell the house we will be down to two addresses... and when we leave southeast Alaska with the boat, one: SBI...

We have had no issues with Voter Registrars setting us up appropriately, and using absentee ballots [local and national...]

Best wishes getting everything structured the way you desire.

Cheers!

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Old 29-03-2016, 13:07   #9
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Re: Voting address vs permanent address

Your residence address and mailing address are two different things. You legal residence matters for all kinds of things including taxes, voting, DMV licenses and registrations, etc. Sure you could use a POB or even general delivery but why bother? Particularly for voting I would take care to make sure I stay in technical compliance with the law as the local registrar interprets it.
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Old 29-03-2016, 15:58   #10
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Re: Voting address vs permanent address

Regarding the last post on taxes, it sometimes matters a great deal where you reside, where you work, and where the company is that pays you. I think the usual rule is you pay tax where you do the work but has gotten pretty fuzzy with virtual employees working on the internet or remotely otherwise. It may not matter in Florida since they don't have an income tax (IDK but what others said above) but you can have issues with "working" in one state and trying to claim residency in another state. If you are a consultant working in FL for a Colorado company, you may have to pay CO income tax. If you lived on a boat in CA and worked for a company in CO you might find CA and CO both trying to collect income tax from you. I'm not a tax expert but I do know this has caused some "misunderstandings" at times. Or, it may not matter at all. Just something to verify in other places.

I worked for a company in CO once but I had to travel to CA for a few weeks one year. At one time I only had to pay CO tax and then CA (and many other states with income tax) said that I had to pay pro rata the portion of my income that I "earned" in CA. This resulted in me having to pay file and pay taxes in several states one year. Quite the mess. But you usually didn't have to double pay on the same earnings so you could deduct the earnings taxed in CA from your CO return. This was years ago so may be it has changed but I doubt it.
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Old 30-03-2016, 11:05   #11
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Re: Voting address vs permanent address

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
We also are leaving in June. House is on contract. We will have no address. Is there a reason to use a service like St Brendan's as opposed to having our daughter handle mail in Colorado? How/where do we vote? Are we reduced to the Fed election only?
If you're selling your Colorado house and establishing your residence with St Brendan's Isle you will not be without an address. You will be able to vote in the Clay County and State of Florida elections. You may not establish interest in your new community, but you will not be reduced to only federal elections.
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Old 30-03-2016, 11:11   #12
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Re: Voting address vs permanent address

Florida DMV and Voter Registration have *different* rules for what an acceptable "residence" or qualifying address may be. DMV wants to see a whole list of things to match the DHS "SecureID" program, which the voter registration folks will accept "Uder the Julia Tuttle Bridge" as a valid residency.


So...Contact the voter registration people about registering to vote. The DMV is not in charge of that. What the DMV thinks, has nothing to do with voting. That's what the courts--the Florida courts--have said.
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Old 30-03-2016, 12:26   #13
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Voting address vs permanent address

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Florida DMV and Voter Registration have *different* rules for what an acceptable "residence" or qualifying address may be. DMV wants to see a whole list of things to match the DHS "SecureID" program, which the voter registration folks will accept "Uder the Julia Tuttle Bridge" as a valid residency.


So...Contact the voter registration people about registering to vote. The DMV is not in charge of that. What the DMV thinks, has nothing to do with voting. That's what the courts--the Florida courts--have said.

The Treasury Department is actually the one who wrote the rules that others like DHS follow regarding a physical address. It's all about whether law enforcement can locate you.

It is permissible to use a relatives address because it is assumed (incorrect) that the relative can find you if the cops show up on their doorstep. It is also ok to give them a description of your location if you have no address (for example some homes in remote rural areas you can say 600 yards beyond the giant oak tree at the intersection of xyz creek and forest road 1234). But if you live in a constantly moving state of a homeless person you cannot give them a public place that you are likely to be found.

Even though it used to be ok for people to address things to/from the ship or yacht name "Sv My Boat, home port Boston, lying Port of San Francisco " (which would get the mail to that Sv in San Francisco at anchor) this is no longer permissible. I believe since documented vessels can be found via USCG it should be reasonable to use boat name and home port as address but alas it is not an option today.


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Old 30-03-2016, 12:40   #14
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Re: Voting address vs permanent address

Thank you for all of the ideas.
I did as helloSailor suggested and contacted the Manatee County Voter Services.

The told me that I can register to vote using the Marina address and a slip number. They have the ability to record a separate mailing address. That could either be the Mail service, or a post office box.

The also referred me to the local Tax collector for my driver's license (In Florida, the county tax collector issues the the driver). They were also very helpful As mentioned in a post above, the Real ID act has made it tougher to have multiple address. However, the tax collectors office said that they can still issue a license even if you do not receive mail at your residence. The key is to have items that validate where you are. In my case, I have a cable bill for my boat at the marina which shows a service address and a mailing address, so that makes it easy.

Both the tax collector's office and voter registration strongly recommended that I make an appointment to come in and have the change processed. My understanding was that this might need to be assigned to someone who could handle "unusual" situations. Apparently the local counties in Florida have a different processes, so you have to find out how it is done where you want to reside.

The end result is that I can have a couple of options:
  • I can use St. Brendan's Isle as a mail service and have a local address for my driver's license, voter's registration, boat registration.
  • I can use St. Brendan's Isle as a mail service and also use their address for my residence.

For the next couple of years I will try the first option, and then when I fully retire, I will switch to the second one.

Thank you for all of the comments.
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Old 30-03-2016, 13:12   #15
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Re: Voting address vs permanent address

"Even though it used to be ok for people to address things to/from the ship or yacht name "Sv My Boat, home port Boston, lying Port of San Francisco " this is no longer permissible"
Haha. It sounds like you are referring to the USPS when you refer to "addressing" things, presumably mail? The USPS is a Congressionally chartered monopoly, and they in turn have a separate THIRD set of rules as to what they choose to deliver and how it may or may not be delivered. Which has got no legal bearing on voter or driver license rules. Especially in Florida, where the state laws say that any state agency or department may define "residence" any way they please--for their own purposes and not binding on any other agency, even if they are in conflict for other agencies and other purposes.
Glad to hear the OP is in a more lenient and hospitable county, apparently. Where all parties apparently will play together nicely, and even allow his mail to be delivered "to" his boat.
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