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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Ind. Law - "Bill would restrict out-of-state college students from voting"

A long report today by Mary Beth Schneider of the Indianapolis Star that begins:

Paying out-of-state tuition could cost students something more under legislation that will be debated Wednesday: their vote.

Under House Bill 1311, students who pay out-of-state tuition would not be able to vote in Indiana.

Rep. Peggy Mayfield, the Martinsville Republican who filed the bill, said she's trying to resolve an issue about determining who is an Indiana resident.

"We're having people who are not necessarily residents voting in our elections," she said.

But legal experts, as well as lawmakers in both parties whose districts include some of Indiana's public universities, say there's a big problem with the bill, which will be debated in the House Elections and Apportionment Committee today: It's unconstitutional.

"I hope that's a quick hearing," said Lee Rowland, counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, which monitors voting rights issues across the nation. "Because, frankly, conditioning voting rights on a 12-month residency is so clearly unconstitutional that it would be an utter waste of the legislature's time to consider such a bill." * * *

Mayfield said lawmakers may have to work on some issues with the bill -- including the fact that it treats public university students differently from those at private colleges, which don't distinguish between in-state and out-of-state students when it comes to tuition.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 7, 2013 10:14 AM
Posted to Indiana Law