February 13 10:48
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Bill Cook seeks to put integrity back in our elections procedures

April 03, 2013
The following press release came from Sen. Bill Cook's office:

Yesterday, Senators Cook, Rabin, and Sanderson proposed S666 Election Law Changes and S667 Equalize Voter Rights. The intent of these bills is to protect the integrity of North Carolina's entire electoral process. We believe these reforms will be appreciated by citizens in this state who view voting as a sacred civic duty.

In these tough economic times, we need to be proactive in finding ways to save money. One day of early voting in North Carolina costs $98,000. Our counties bear this cost exclusively. Cutting back early voting from seventeen to ten days does this by saving roughly $686,000 per election. This money would be better used to hire teachers and first responders.

We are simply equalizing the playing field for all voters in our state.

Cook was also a primary sponsor of S668 which would prohibit legally declared mentally incompetent people from registering to vote.

The Voter Integrity Project issued the following statement about these bills:

We've gotten a bill into the Senate that Progressives are going to hate almost more than they hate Voter ID.

If other states pick up this legislation, it will shift the landscape of college town voting all across the nation and may even put "college states" like Massachusetts back into play because so many students use the same-day registration rules to vote in that state. (Some say the students vote in their home states too, but we cannot confirm it yet.)
  • The two bills (SB 666 & SB 667) were designed in response to a Buncombe County Commissioner's race that was flipped after Warren Wilson College students were invited to vote again after it was learned that their dorm addresses were in a critical district, different from their actual mailing addresses (they had been using in all previous elections).

  • The bill will "encourage" college students to vote by absentee ballot from their home of record and put consequences for their voting on campus.

  • The bill has the effect that any student who votes from their temporary college address to start paying taxes in that community

  • In case the students don't own anything, the bill also takes the fully emancipated young adults OFF of their parents' state income taxes (as a deduction)

  • It brings their voting rights back to being equal with all other "sojourners" in our society (like teachers, dual-residence vacationers and their military peers) who only get to use absentee ballots

There are links to all of the details I mentioned above--including the Warren Wilson issue--in the text below and on our website.

Let me know if y'all want to do anything on your show.

BTW, I've BCC'd some friends in hopes they will forward to radio shows in their parts of the state, so don't be surprised if this story pops elsewhere too.


Jay N. DeLancy, LtCol, USAF (Ret)

Executive Director

Voter Integrity Project of NC

(Office) 919.429.9039

(Cell) 919.332.4129

Twitter: @VoteChecker

VIP-NC is a trans-partisan, volunteer organization that works for "free and fair elections" by bringing more transparency to the process in order to ensure that no voters are disenfranchised.

  1. reply print email
    voter integrity
    April 05, 2013 | 12:33 PM

    By removing a student from their parents tax deduction because they chose to vote at their college, you are, essentially charging charging a fee to vote. By the same token, our soldiers in Iraq should have to pay if they choose to vote from there. This is a tax increase. When did the republican party become in favor of tax increases?? Why not just sell tickets at the voting booth? Money raised could help reduce the deficit. The arrogance of these actions is unbelievable.

    Lyle Leuck
  2. reply print email
    college voting
    April 05, 2013 | 10:44 PM

    If college students who vote in their college residence are taken off their parent's tax return as dependents, they have no assets and will require a full ride to any college who estimated the financial contribution of a parent. This will be a major upheaval to college financial aid offices.

    ps We all know you are doing this to keep more liberal/educated/Democrats from voting. You don't fight fairly!

    Amy Johnson

    Editor's response: Note that the bill does not restrict college students from voting. What it does is address WHERE they vote. It's intent is for them to vote where they claim residence. They may do so either in person or via absentee ballot. This matters a great deal in local elections.

  3. reply print email
    April 06, 2013 | 06:43 PM

    You mean NC will start killing the blacks

    Yeah we know.


    Editor's response: You are suggesting that only blacks are executed for capital crimes? Perhaps you should do some research.

  4. reply print email
    April 06, 2013 | 07:50 PM

    I stayed in my out-of-state college town 12 years following graduation.

    What the republicans don't realize is this will hurt real people. Though they may realize a near term advantage, the long term effects for the Republican party will be devastating. People seldom forget discrimination.

    College students heavily contribute financially to these local economies... and thus should have the right to influence the local politics while they are residing there. Do not four-year degrees endure quite longer than local house/senate terms?

    The logic is bogus and true intentions are clear. The relevant proposed legislation is nothing more than a clown car act, and supporting such reveals one's true colors and/or outright ignorance.


    Editor's response: Stinky, how do you justify college students being able to choose where they will vote, irrespective of their legal domicile and other groups, including our military not being allow to choose which jurisdiction they will vote in? And of course that raises the issue of should college students be allowed the same choice for purposes of residential tuition?

  5. reply print email
    RE: - joke
    April 06, 2013 | 09:52 PM

    Let's keep the discussion focused on civilians. It's an interesting point to help validate your case, but I don't believe it makes sense to convolute the discussion by comparing civilians to military, in part as the government subsidizes the more expensive & necessary living expenditures associated with on-base military personnel.

    Many college students contribute nearly 100% of their expenditures (and generated income when applicable) to the relevant local & state economies facilitating their education, and therefore should have a voice pertaining to matters affecting their standard of living and education.

    The residential tuition issue is tricky though somewhat unrelated. In my opinion, if an out-of-state student is actively employed for two years, that individual should be allowed to achieve permanent residency and thus achieve the benefits of in-state tuition.


    Editor's response: Our point re. military is not their relative economic impact, but rather the definition of residency for voting purposes. All we're suggesting is that all classes of people (students, military, second-home owners etc.) should be treated the same. The standard should be domicile, or permanent residence. That is where you should vote, not your temporary residence, regardless of the length of one's temporary stay. For example, in Beaufort County many people own second homes here. They pay taxes and have a tremendous impact on the economy. But they have a permanent residence somewhere else. They should not vote in Beaufort but where their permanent residence is located. Otherwise you have exactly what we have now...inconsistencies among classifications of people and disparate impact on the local jurisdictions.

    Finally, if we were to use your standard (economic impact) why would you allow college students to vote because they have an economic impact (temporary) and still allow "local" residents who have relatively no economic impact (non-property owners, low income, negative income (welfare) individuals) to vote at all? Economic impact is a dangerous classification to determine voting. If that be the case, people with relatively greater impact could logically make the case that they should be more than one vote because they contribute more to the local economy.

    Our point simply stated is: Voting eligibility should be determined equally for all voters. Domicile has traditionally been the standard for voting, eligibility for benefits, income taxes, school assignment, out-of-state tuition, estate matters etc. College students should not be treated any differently than any other classification of people. Vote where you declare your permanent residence. Economic impact is not a viable equally applicable standard.

  6. reply print email
    The point
    April 07, 2013 | 07:49 AM

    is that the current system is subject to abuse. It is too easy for a temporary residence (someone with an address) to register and vote in more than one place. But legally you can have only one domicile. So domicile should be what is used to determine where you vote, not temporary residence because people can have any number of temporary addresses. Like 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. If you're not at your domicile at election time, vote absentee ballot.

  7. reply print email
    Re: RE; - joke
    April 07, 2013 | 11:09 AM

    Then by applying your logic, it would be prudent and responsible to re-distribute all local sales taxes generated by students to their residential geographic origins.

    Absolute nonsense.

    I find it amusing that an editor would debate reader comments. That's not news, that's propaganda.

    I would argue further, but I read your mission statement.


    Editor's response: The nonsense here is your argument that spending money should qualify a person to vote in the jurisdiction in which they spend their money. Carry that to its logical conclusion and see what you get. Pure nonsense. No, our argument is that ALL voters should be eligible to vote in only one place...where they are domiciled.

    And yes, we will debate any poster who submits nonsense. If you're not willing to defend your position, don't post it here.

  8. reply print email
    April 07, 2013 | 03:59 PM

    In all my 24 years in the military I voted by absentee ballot in my home of residence listed on my enlistment papers, except when I bought property in the state where I was stationed. Then I had to vote in that state. If there are instances, where it can be verified, of transit status people voting twice obviously they need to be charged with voter fraud. It someone cites research hinting of this they need to continue their research to find the facts.

    George H. Schryer
  9. reply print email
    voter suppresion
    April 07, 2013 | 10:07 PM

    In 1979 the Supreme Court case Symm v. United States they ruled that college students have CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to register to vote where they go to school. This proposed law has nothing to do with voter "integrity" or saving money. It all has to do the GOP thinking college students had a lot to do with Obama almost winning NC in the last election (only a 92000 difference between Obama & Romney).

    The GOP, in the states they control, have been passing or trying to pass all sorts of legislation designed to limit or block those voters that largely go Democratic. From requiring new arbitrary forms of voter I.D., limiting early voting or same day registrations to this latest bullpucky stunt.

    I am not a democrat or republican. And I don't give a fig what party a politician belongs to as long as she or he is the best person for the job. But frankly what the extremists in the GOP have been allowed to pull off the last 3-4 years is stomach turning.


    Editor's response: so do you feel people who have a residence in Beaufort County (i.e., a river cottage) should be able to vote here even though they live, work and maintain a permanent domicile in Virginia? It is interesting that the Symm court held that residence must be determined the same for ALL residents and not differently for college students than others. But that is exactly what this bill seeks to do. Why should college students be treated differently than other citizens?

  10. reply print email
    Voting address
    April 08, 2013 | 07:37 AM

    If they are using their college address to vote where they are going to school, seems they are claiming to be a resident of that city and state. They also need to be required to have a drivers license issued with that address and have their vehicle registered at that address.

  11. reply print email
    Obvious Voter Disenfranchisement
    April 08, 2013 | 02:23 PM

    The Supreme Court has already rules that students may register and vote where their campus is located.

    Your argument that this may lead to abuse is hamstrung by the fact that you cannot produce even a single case of this happening. Until any evidence at all can be provided to show that this type of abuse is actually happening, this is clearly a solution in search of a problem.

    Ohh, and it has the happy side-effect of restricting votes that would likely have gone to Democrats. guys totally wouldn't do something like that...right?


    Editor's response. That is not how we read the Symm case. The issue there was a questionaire used by the registrar that was required of students but not other voters. The COA specifically said: "But the issue before the District Court was whether the registrar could selectively use a questionnaire in making his determination of residency." We would argue that it is the burden of those opposed to S667 to bring forth a case that prohibits the state from denying a tax exemption if a 'child' registers to vote at an address other than the parents. We cannot find any such precedent in this jurisdiction. In fact the COA in Symm specifically held that Texas law could determine the definition of residency for voting. But we read Symm to say that the method (of determining residency) must be applied equally to students and non-students. And that is what S667 seeks to do. In fact, it's short title is: "Equalize Voter Rights."

  12. reply print email
    Financial Aid Complication...
    July 25, 2013 | 09:45 AM

    The tax break is the primary motivation for students to be listed as tax dependents. Dependent students' aid requires inclusion of parental assets on the FAFSA. This amount comprises a substantial portion of the calculation for how much federal and state aid students receive. Once a student becomes independent, many of them look, on paper, as low-income individuals with few assets and part time employment.

    This bill promotes a perverse incentive for students to become independent and file financial aid forms with no assets, effectively boosting their total award and causing tax-payers to subsidize more students at a higher price.

    Savvy parents who intended to pay for college all along will simply write checks to their kids or use savings to pay of student loans later (which have also been subsidized by taxes).

    I've worked in higher education for my entire career. Filing as an independent student is a rational economic strategy, especially as college costs go up.

    Also, don't forget about the out-of-state students who are beyond North Carolina's control. If 20% of the students hail from elsewhere (don't forget about graduate students), the tax penalty will not apply although the property taxes would, making it more expensive, and less attractive to go there in the first place. This is ALSO a poor strategy since non-resident tuition helps subsidize educational costs for NC residents.

    No matter how you slice it, this is not good public policy.

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