(Raleigh, NC)—MAY 1, 2013— Besides voter ID, there is probably no election reform bill in the 2013 Legislature that poses a greater existential threat to Progressives than SB 667: a bill that would make college students vote like . . . well . . . adults; but it’s only hanging by a thread thanks to attacks from both informed liberals and pragmatic conservatives.
The bill (sponsored mainly by NC Senator Bill Cook) would require new voters either to affirm their intent to vote as fully emancipated adults who are responsible for their own taxes or to vote from the address of the person on whom they “depend” (from a tax perspective).
Judging by the caterwauling from the likes of Rachel Maddow, People for the American Way, and certain college newspapers, the bill has struck a nerve and Progressives seem clearly worried.
At issue is a unique voting privilege given ONLY to college students. No other class of voter in all of America gets to vote from their temporary residence. Rather than vote by absentee ballot (as their military peers have done for years) college students are encouraged to lie about their true domicile and pretend that their college town is where they “intend” to live after graduation.
NC law literally says that teachers in the exact same predicament must vote from their parents’ address, but the students enjoy a unique super-voter status.
An example of this law’s application comes from a Wake Forest student from Alabama who told the Old Gold & Black, “just because I’m not living in the same county as my parents doesn’t mean I am not still dependent on them.” To which we would agree and advise her to vote absentee from her parents’ residence.
A more partisan Wake Forest student called SB 667 “an attempt to hinder voting by liberal college students,” but nothing is further from the truth. The effect of the bill is to separate temporary residents from permanent ones in the matter of voting.
An estimated 93% of college students leave their college town after graduation, but their votes on things like taxes and school boards have longer lasting consequences. While those who honestly plan to remain should vote locally, the rest should vote from their true domicile like everybody else.
The military has mastered absentee voting for years, but unless it’s just too difficult for college students, all can still vote.