COLUMBIA, Mo. - Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley's vote in Boone County did not violate state election laws, since his permanent address is still in the county, according to an investigation.
Boone County Clerk Taylor Burks closed his investigation on Wednesday into Hawley's August vote at the Lenoir Woods Senior Center. A resident made a complaint that Hawley had voted illegally, since the attorney general must live in Jefferson City.
After the St. Louis Post-Dispatch pointed out in January that the Missouri Constitution requires the attorney general to "reside at the seat of government," Hawley began renting a two-bedroom apartment in Jefferson City. Voting records show Hawley has lived at a home off Highway 163, south of Columbia, since at least 2010.
Burks told ABC 17 News he discussed the issue with Hawley's attorney, Peter Patterson, who told him that Hawley intends his Boone County home to be his permanent residence. A letter Patterson sent the clerk's office said that because Hawley plans to return to his Boone County home, it makes that place his permanent residence.
"While he has an apartment in Jefferson City, Mr. Hawley is not from there and does not intend to make Jefferson City his permanent home," Patterson's letter said. "For that reason, under Missouri law, the appropriate place for Mr. Hawley to register and vote is Boone County."
Burks said his office does not have authority to investigate matters such as the attorney general's requirement to reside in Jefferson City.
Scott Paradise, a spokesman for Hawley's exploratory committee for the U.S. Senate, sent ABC 17 News an emailed statement about the decision.
"The Boone County Clerk's official finding confirms what we have said all along: Josh Hawley is properly registered to vote at his permanent home despite the Democrat party attacks to the contrary," Paradise said.
Margaret Booker, the Boone County resident that filed the complaint, told ABC 17 News she was disappointed neither Burks nor the county looked further into the residency requirement for the attorney general. She felt the issue needed clarification after learning Hawley voted in Boone County.
"That should never be a question for future [attorneys general], or the citizens and state of Missouri," Booker said.
Hawley pays for the Jefferson City apartment himself, Paradise told ABC 17 News. The rent does not come out of the Attorney General's Office budget, he said.