Student voter registration
bickersj1 at nku.edu
Fri Oct 31 07:36:47 PDT 2008
Respectfully, why should there be outrage? Ohio law makes voting eligibility conditional upon being a resident, not a domiciliary. To the extent it focuses on anything, it bases eligibility on the student's intent to remain or return: something which simply cannot be proven by where people spend their summers (in fact, the Ohio statute that once prevented students from registering in the county where they went to school has been repealed). I spent my own summers during college many years ago at my parent's house, but I did not intend to remain in the state in which they lived after graduation. It would have been more untruthful of me to retain my registration and vote in that state, than in the one in which I was now spending nine months every year.
During my time in the Army, we dealt with problems like these all the time (for both tax and voting purposes). Some soldiers enter military service with every intention of returning to the home of their youth when they leave; others (which seemed to me a majority, but that may be attribution error on my part) found a place they really liked during their travels. To tell such a soldier that he or should could not vote in Texas while stationed there, simply because the soldier had gone to high school in North Dakota, is something I would never have done. If soldiers fell for the charms of the Lone Star State and intended to return there whenever their time with Uncle Sam was done, so be it.
I am not disagreeing that if there are people (students, soldiers, or anyone else) who are deliberately violating the state standards for eligibility, that is a bad thing. I just think we cannot conclude that students who go to another state to study do so with confidence that they will return to their high school state as soon as possible. We operate in this nation with a great deal of mobility, and an even greater amount of faith that people are sincere about their residency. This is true, I think, whether in the case of an individual student attending an out-of-state college, a prominent resident of Washington, DC, who arrived there from Arkansas but declares residence in New York, or a member of Congress from Wyoming who moves to Texas after government service and reestablishes a Wyoming residence during a campaign because of the requirements of the electoral college.
Salmon P. Chase College of Law
Northern Kentucky University
From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu on behalf of Earl Maltz
Subject: Student voter registration
Here's the larger point. While the students themselves don't know
any better, it seems to me that those who are encouraging students at
private colleges like Kenyon (the subject of the Time magazine piece)
to register and vote in Ohio (a battleground state) rather than their
home states are chargeable with knowledge of the law, and thus are
engaged in systematic voting fraud (most Kenyon students are from out
of state, and many return home each summer, so cannot possibly be
domiciliaries of Ohio). Where's the outrage?
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