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NC Tries to Suppress the Student Vote

The latest example of Republican voter suppression may be the worst bill yet. The North Carolina Senate now has a bill that would make it far more difficult for college students to vote in a number of ways, while also reducing early voting days and hours.

A bill filed in the state Senate Tuesday would carry a tax penalty for parents whose children register to vote at their college address.

Senate Bill 667, known as “Equalize Voter Rights,” would remove the tax exemption for dependents who register to vote at any address other than their parents’ home.

“If the voter is a dependent of the voter’s parent or legal guardian, is 18 years of age or older and the voter has registered at an address other than that of the parent or legal guardian, the parent or legal guardian will not be allowed to claim the voter as a dependent for state income tax purposes,” the bill says…

The bill would also require voters to have their vehicles registered at the same address as their voter registration. That also could cut down on college student registration, since many students maintain their vehicle registration in their home counties.

Sponsor Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, didn’t immediately respond to inquiries about the intent of the legislation.

Gosh, how shocking. I mean, what is the guy gonna say? What possible justification could there be for this other than just bluntly wanting to suppress the votes of college students? And this is almost touching in its naivete:

“I refuse to believe the Republican leadership has become so desperate to limit voting for partisan gain that they would be willing to support tax increases to achieve that goal,” said Hall, D-Durham. “It is the definition of arrogance to penalize parents with new taxes just because their children want to exercise their right to vote in the community they live in.”

You refuse to believe that? You must not have been paying attention lately. The Republicans have been absolutely shameless in their voter suppression tactics. They are terrified of young and minority voters and they will do everything they can to make sure that as few of them can vote as possible.

Comments

  1. says

    What is worrisome is that this tax penalty probably does not fall afoul of the 24th Amendment:

    The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

    The rights of the parents and student are not being infringed; they would remain free to register and to vote.

  2. mvemjsun says

    What if they register to vote where their parents live and then vote absentee from their dorm.

  3. Ichthyic says

    depends of your definition of free.

    and your definition of extortion.

    no, it would indeed run afoul of the 24th.

  4. Ben P says

    The rights of the parents and student are not being infringed; they would remain free to register and to vote.

    I’ve never studied 24th amendment caselaw, but a quick looks show’s there’s been handful of supreme court case interpreting it. In Harmon v Fossenius the Supreme COurt struck down a virginia law that tried to circumvent the poll tax.

    When the 24th amendment was passed Virginia had a poll tax, they passed an amendment to the poll tax law saying that you could avoid the poll tax if you filed a certificate of residency in Virginia with the county clerk six months before voting. (which would have the same effect? Oh you didn’t file the certificate? well, you can pay the tax or you can vote). The supreme court has some very good language there.

    It has long been established that a State may not impose a penalty upon those who exercise a right guaranteed by the Constitution. Frost & Frost Trucking Co. v. Railroad Comm’n of California, 271 U. S. 583. “Constitutional rights would be of little value if they could be . . . indirectly denied,” Smith v. Allwright, 321 U. S. 649, 321 U. S. 664, or “manipulated out of existence.” Gomillion v. Lightfoot, 364 U. S. 339, 364 U. S. 345. Significantly, the Twenty-fourth Amendment does not merely insure that the franchise shall not be “denied” by reason of failure to pay the poll tax; it expressly guarantees that the right to vote shall not be “denied or abridged” for that reason. Thus, like the Fifteenth Amendment, the Twenty-fourth “nullifies sophisticated, as well as simple-minded modes” of impairing the right guaranteed. Lane v. Wilson, 307 U. S. 268, 307 U. S. 275. “It hits onerous procedural requirements which effectively handicap exercise of the franchise” by those claiming the constitutional immunity. Ibid.; cf. Gray v. Johnson, 234 F.Supp. 743 (D.C.S.D.Miss.).

    It seems to me that this would absolutely cover a “your kids have to register at home or you can pay more in taxes” system.

  5. says

    I refuse to believe the Republican leadership has become so desperate to limit voting for partisan gain that they would be willing to support tax increases to achieve that goal…

    What’s really disgusting about this statament, is that NC Democrats can’t find the voice to defend such basic rights by any means other than “this blatant attempt to keep educated young people from voting will raise taxes for someone.”

    What if they register to vote where their parents live and then vote absentee from their dorm.

    That’s what the Republicans prefer, and a) it makes voting much more inconvenient for students; and b) it keeps the uppity-smartass-punk-kid vote diluted among the lege districts, so it’s less likely to be decisive at the state level.

  6. says

    What makes this law insidious is that it would not, in any way, prevent someone from voting: it affects only WHERE a person may vote. That is a key difference that, to my knowlege, has never been addressed by the Supreme Court. In fact, every state has restrictions on where a voter may register and cast his or her ballot; such laws have been around since before the US Constitution was ratified.

    Put aside the apparent intent, and look at the law itself. It asserts that if a person registers to vote at an address different from her parents, then she has established her own household. If she has established her own household, then she is no longer a dependent of her parents. If she is no longer a dependent of her parents, then her parents cannot claim her as a dependent on their state income tax, and thus cannot count her as a dependent exemption. Their reasoning is pretty sound, and I don’t see any room for the courts to overturn this.

  7. Ben P says

    Put aside the apparent intent, and look at the law itself. It asserts that if a person registers to vote at an address different from her parents, then she has established her own household. If she has established her own household, then she is no longer a dependent of her parents. If she is no longer a dependent of her parents, then her parents cannot claim her as a dependent on their state income tax, and thus cannot count her as a dependent exemption. Their reasoning is pretty sound, and I don’t see any room for the courts to overturn this.

    It makes some sense, but that’s not how the IRS does it. Virtually all IRS standards allow the parents to continue to claim the child as a dependent as long as the child is a full time student, up to the age of 24.

  8. dogmeat says

    You refuse to believe that? You must not have been paying attention lately. The Republicans have been absolutely shameless in their voter suppression tactics.

    I would argue that this is a case of plausible deniability. In effect, they are saying “see what rat-bastards the Republicans are” without actually saying it. Along the lines of “I’m certain Chancellor Palpatine isn’t trying to destroy the Republic.”

    One does have to wonder what their justification is, perhaps they’re still trying to come up with one. My guess would be along the lines of parents claiming kids who aren’t actually going to college as “students” to avoid paying more in taxes. Of course this flies in the face of their anti-tax posture. I also wonder how many people this impacts. In ’12 Romney won the state by more than 100k votes, on the other hand, in ’08 Obama won by 14k votes.

  9. chilidog99 says

    @mvemjsum

    “What if they register to vote where their parents live and then vote absentee from their dorm.”

    What if there is a local issue that affects them where they live?

  10. chilidog99 says

    What is with NC these days?

    A recent bill to establish Christianity as the official state religion was recently introduced (it never made it out of committee ) and there is a bill on the floor now that attempts to circumvent the soverinity clause and the commerce clause over gun control.

  11. chilidog99 says

    Greg, being a dependent has nothing to do with whether the child lives with you or not. Consider the case of divorced parents where the father provides child support, but the child resides with the mother.

  12. Chris A says

    I also wonder what this “no longer a dependent” theory will do to financial aid applications…

  13. Doug Little says

    Why do they hate democracy?

    Because the odds are not in their favor anymore. Rather than changing their platform they would prefer to stick to their guns and go down with the good ship “USS Religious Right” while causing maximum damage to the democratic process.

  14. chilidog99 says

    Ed left out this quote from the article:

    Jay DeLancy of the NC Voter Integrity Project also voiced support for the student voting restrictions, citing a case in which college students in Buncombe County changed the outcome of a race for a county commission seat in 2012.

    “That race showed how easily college students can be manipulated like pawns,” DeLancy said in a press release. “These bills will protect students from such abuse.”

    What a totally arrogant piece of shit.

  15. says

    What makes this law insidious is that it would not, in any way, prevent someone from voting…

    Neither does gerrymandering.

    One thing it WOULD do, is prevent students from having any political influence in the towns where their colleges reside.

    IANACL, but if this rule doesn’t violate the Constitution, the attempt to give or withhold a tax break in response to someone’s choice of where to register to vote (overriding all relevant qualifying factors), comes pretty damn close.

  16. Steve Morrison says

    I would argue that this is a case of plausible deniability. In effect, they are saying “see what rat-bastards the Republicans are” without actually saying it. Along the lines of “I’m certain Chancellor Palpatine isn’t trying to destroy the Republic.”

    “For Brutus is an honourable man;
    So are they all, all honourable men—”

  17. savagemutt says

    What is with NC these days?

    They won control of the legislature in 2010 and the governor’s office last year, so they’re rushing to pass as much evil, stupid shit as possible in the least amount of time.

    I think they’re aware that even with gerrymandering and their voter disenfranchisement efforts that they may piss off so many people that they’ll lose control in the next mid-terms.

  18. chilidog99 says

    Gregory @19, this is a poll tax in disguise.

    Frankly, I doubt that this bill will even make it out of committee.

    Read the part I quoted above. This is all because someone dared challenge the local powers that be and won a county commission seat, and you know what that means. Someone’s nephew is going to have to go out and get a real job and someone else is actually going to have to submit a competitive bid on that public works project.

  19. Michael I says

    I suspect the “I refuse to believe…” bit is basically tactical. The idea is to discourage the GOP leadership from backing this bill by attacking the bill but not DIRECTLY accusing the GOP leadership at this time.

  20. twincats says

    Maybe I’m feeling feistier than usual but these make no sense to me:

    it makes voting much more inconvenient for students

    This, because I’m a permanent voter by mail in CA which I find extremely convenient because I can fill out my ballot at my leisure and not during some arbitrary days/times. I can see the argument about being affected where you’re going to school as relevant, but convenience not so much.

    If she has established her own household, then she is no longer a dependent of her parents.

    All of my dorm experience was military, but no one considered a dorm room a ‘household’. Households, whether they were singles or families had to be either in base housing or off-base abodes. Dorm dwellers got to ship 300 lbs. of possessions to new duty stations, households of one (a military member on BAQ living off base) got 2,000 lbs. as a baseline. Big difference if you had 500 lbs. of stereo equipment in your dorm room! (gimme a break, it was the 80’s)

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