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Mitt Romney to cast his ballot in Belmont today

Mitt and Ann Romney appeared at a campaign rally in Ohio on Monday.

Gerald Herbert/AP

Mitt and Ann Romney appeared at a campaign rally in Ohio on Monday.

Mitt Romney has had a lot of homefield advantages in the Republican presidential nominating contest, from a vacation home in New Hampshire that made him a local for the state’s leadoff primary, to roots in Michigan that allowed him to speak in the area vernacular before last week’s vote.

But according to election law, he only has one home state when it comes to voting, and that’s Massachusetts.

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Despite a challenge to his voting registration last year by rival Fred Karger, Romney is registered to vote in Belmont, and he’s planning to visit his hometown to cast his ballot at the Beech Street Senior Center shortly after 5 p.m. today.

Karger challenged Romney’s residency in part on the basis of a 2010 Associated Press story that noted the former Massachusetts governor no longer owned a home in the state but was claiming residence in the basement of his eldest son, Tagg, while he and his wife, Ann, searched for and built a new home.

Tagg Romney’s Belmont house is the address Romney put down on his voter registration card when he voted in the January 2010 US Senate special election that fellow Republican Scott Brown won.

Belmont Town Clerk Ellen O’Brien Cushman said that year that the residency claim was legal, akin to the situation when an elderly parent moves into the home of their child.

She also produced a history of Romney’s continuous voter registration in Belmont, dating back to 1972. And O’Brien Cushman documented his voting history since a state primary on Sept. 14, 1976.

Romney has a house in Wolfeboro, N.H., overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee, and a second house in La Jolla, Calif., overlooking the Pacific Ocean. His residency was challenged in 2002 when he returned from Utah to run for governor after overseeing the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

Romney was able to assert his Massachusetts residency, and today his home for voting purposes is a townhouse near McLean Hospital.

Nonetheless, Romney hasn’t slept there since Jan. 6 because he’s been campaigning nonstop in the hope of gaining a new address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C.

Glen Johnson can be reached at johnson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.
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