Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake City News

Lake City Police Chief Lives Outside City Limits: Registers and votes in city

Lake City Police Chief Gilmore: file photo

LAKE CITY, FL –  The drama never seems to end in Lake City, the latest being the discovery that Lake City's Police Chief, Argatha Gilmore, who lives in Columbia County, is registered to vote and voted in the August 14, 2012 primary, using Lake City Police Headquarters as her home residence. This enabled Chief Gilmore to vote in the Lake City primary in City District 12, which pitted incumbent Jake Hill against newcomer Zack Paulk. Councilman Hill, a critic of Chief Gilmore, lost his bid for reelection.

The voter registration laws are clear and specific. You must use your legal residence to register to vote, which is spelled out on the registration form this way: "Address Where You Live."

You can change your address and voter information at the DMV

Part I – Lake City Police Chief Lives Outside City Limits: Registers and votes in city

• Part II – LCPD Chief finally registered to vote where she lives. State Attorney passed buck - got it back

Part III – LCPD's Chief Gilmore gets an EZ Pass from State Attorney "Skip" Jarvis in alleged voter fraud issue

If one changes their existing Florida voter registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), one must give two proofs of residential address. Both the Columbia County Supervisor of Elections Office and the Tax Collector's Office explained proof of address to be a light or power bill, phone bill, tax bill, lease or other clearly identifying information that "shows where you live."

Representatives of both the Supervisor of Elections and the Tax Collector's Office said they are not the police.

When one changes one's address at a DMV office, the information is scanned into a computer and sent to a data base in Tallahassee. One can change their information at any DMV office in the state. After the information is accepted by the clerk at the DMV, an oral oath is given, in which the person changing their address swears, under the penalty of perjury, that the information provided is true.

Once the information is changed, the information is sent from Tallahassee to the local Supervisor of Elections Office, where the information is inputted into its data base. There appears to be no way for the local Supervisor of Elections Office to know which DMV office accepted the change of address.

Where does Lake City's Police Chief live?

Different sources have reported that Chief Gilmore has lived off of Brown Road for at least a year. A high governmental official has also told the Observer that Chief Gilmore lives off of Brown road. Brown Road is not in Lake City and it appears to be common knowledge that the Chief does not live in the City limits.

It also appears that even though Chief Gilmore moved to Lake City late in 2009, she did not change here address until July of 2011. In September of 2010, Chief Gilmore did not turn up in a search of the Columbia County Supervisor of Election's data base. Chief Gilmore's reporting date of employment was September 28, 2009. Her letter of engagement did not state that she was required to move to Lake City.

In July of 2011, Chief Gilmore changed her address at a DMV Office. The information that was sent to Columbia County showed that she lived at 225 NW Main Blvd, Lake City, FL. Google "Lake City Florida Police Department" and it gives the address as 225 NW Main Blvd., which is the Lake City Police Department Hdq. (Google earth image of 225 NW Main can be found here. Click on image to enlarge).

This is the Argatha Gilmore section from the August 28, 2012 voting records data base of the Columbia County Supervisor of Elections.

Supervisor of Elections Voting Records

The most recent Columbia County Supervisor of Elections data base dated August 28, 2012, clearly shows that "Argatha Gilmore" voted early in the August 14th primary and that she voted in Lake City's District 12, using as her residence, the Lake City Police Department Headquarters.

The Law

The Florida Statutes are clear and specific. "False swearing; submission of false voter registration information" is a felony. "Fraud in connection with casting a vote" is a felony.

City Councilman Jake Hill weighs in

City Councilman Jake Hill told the Observer: If it is proven that Chief Gilmore willingly gave a false address or voted where she knew she shouldn't have, then she should resign. If she doesn't resign then the City Manager should remove her. If the City Manager won't remove her, the Council should remove them both. If it is a mistake, then it looks like once again the Police Chief has a lot of explaining to do.


At approximately 11:45 am late this morning, the Observer relayed to a high placed city official the facts in this article and asked, "Please get back to me if you find something wrong." The Observer's phone never rang.

Comments  (to add a comment go here)

On August 30, 2012, cs wrote:

It is with great disappointment that I read another slanted article this morning in an attempt to make more headlines against the Chief of Police. A simple check of Florida State Statutes would reveal that per FSS 119.071(4)(d) 2.a, that all law enforcement officers, active or retired, are exempt from public records.

Thank you! I look forward to seeing this on the comments section later today.


On August 30, 2012, D of Lake City wrote:

Just read your article about Argatha Gilmore and the illegal voting. Stew your the man I'm giving you a big thumbs up for that one. Please keep me informed this made my day!! Is WJ a county resident as well?  Just curious.  Have a wonderful day and keep up the awesome work.


On August 30, 2012, DD of Lake City wrote:

Outstanding reporting. Amazing, the truths that you uncover here.  Let’s see how they try to wiggle out of this one.


On August 30,2012, Concerned Citizen of Lake City wrote:

When will the lynching end? What will they come up with next? There are a few people that will go to any length to keeps this going! Why aren't they raising cane about the hundred's of thousand's of illegal immigrants that continue to vote? Are they checking on every voter to see if they are voting in the proper district? Probably not! But I guess when someone gets beat, they will try and do whatever they can and blame anyone except themselves.


On August 30, 2012, cs wrote:

Here is what is clearly posted  on your web site: Do you edit comments? No. Comments are either approved or they're not. In some cases, we will ask you to try again. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In those cases, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

Unfortunately, you did.  This is the first and only time, I have commented on your site.  I purposefully CC'd the Reporter to show, in case they picked up your article, the statutes allowing law enforcement to be exempt - with an explanation against several items you posted, which you edited out. Your site, your rules I guess.

An anonymous contributor, cs, claimed to be a police officer and got some of the law wrong and facts wrong. Anonymous gives one few rights and we will be clearing this up in our rules, shortly. Ed


On August 30, 2012, please don't use my name from Lake City wrote:

Although it is very common for Law Enforcement Officer’s to use our work address for drivers license and vehicle registration purpose’s, it does not give you the right to vote in that district. There used to be a City of Lake City Police Department Policy prohibiting the use of the city address as our mailing address. I can not quote the policy because they are changing daily. I can not stress enough that the use of the Police Department address would be for DL and Vehicle use only and not one to establish residency!


On August 31, 2012, former LCPD Captain, Rudolph Davis wrote:

For the record, a law enforcement officer can use his employer's address for business purposes only. Voting is a personal matter. It is absolutely illegal to vote in any district where you do not live. The voter registration application states “address where you live", so if you don’t live at your employer's address, you cannot put that address on your voter’s registration application as your residence.

By law, a law enforcement officer can fill out papers to have his/her address exempt from public records, but they still have to put the physical address where they live on the voter’s registration application. After a request is done to have their address exempted, the Supervisor of Elections will redact a law enforcement officer's address and other personal information before it is released to the public.

I would like to thank the Observer for publishing this story, which is really about right and wrong.     Rudolph Davis


On August 31, 2012, DD of Lake City wrote:

 Thank you “former LCPD Captain, Rudolph Davis”!  How wonderful to have you speak up.  I admire you for taking what may be a rather unpopular stand.  And, as always, thanks to our reporter for his painstakingly honest coverage.


On September 5, 2012, Judy T of Columbia County wrote:

This is so disappointing!  I don't live in the City Limits, but I followed the story of her being offered the position and I was very excited for her. I have spoken with Tea Party members (yes I attend Tea Party meetings) who participate in her Breakfast with the Chief meetings and they too were all very excited and impressed with her.

The Office of Police Chief, as with the Sheriff and all other positions in government whether elected, appointed or employed are positions of Public Trust.  If the allegations in this story are accurate, she should not only resign - but indeed she should be prosecuted, right after Skip Jarvis for that matter!

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Thank you  Stew for being on the job!   Judy Thacker


On September 5, 2012, former LCPD Captain, Rudolph Davis wrote:

Thank you “Judy Thacker”, I admire you for not being afraid to use your name and your comment is on point.


This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

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