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Sunday, February 10, 2013

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

Updating this ILB entry from from Feb. 7th on HB 1311, Dave Bangert's column in the Sunday Lafayette Journal Courier is headed "The attack on Purdue students' voting rights: A dubious bill targets out-of-state college students." A few quotes from the long story:

HB 1311, introduced by Rep. Peggy Mayfield, a Martinsville Republican, proposes that the state deny residency for voting to anyone who moves to a precinct for “educational purposes if the person pays a nonresident tuition rate.”

At Purdue, that would apply to 11,080 U.S. nonresident students — or about 28 percent of the total enrollment in West Lafayette this school year, according to the Purdue Data Digest.

“We’re having people who are not necessarily residents voting in our elections,” Mayfield told The Indianapolis Star. Those in favor of the bill said they were looking to keep people from voting in two places — already a Class D felony in Indiana for anyone caught voting twice. * * *

State Rep. Sheila Klinker, a Lafayette Democrat, lent a page practically ripped from the Community of Choice discussions around town: “I think it sends a negative message to the young people who want to live in our area and who want to stay in our area — many of whom go to graduate school, get married in our area, have children that go to our schools. So we really don’t want to see this bill go any further.”

But let’s say we didn’t really give a flip whether students from other states came, stayed, went, whatever. The question at the Statehouse should be: Is this a problem in college communities?

Not really. At least not here in Purdue’s backyard, says Tippecanoe County Clerk Christa Coffey.

“No, I don’t remember ever having to challenge on the registration status for Purdue students — and I certainly don’t want to encourage that,” Coffey said. “And yes, we do encourage them to register and be involved in this community.”

It’s not as if the county’s election board is beating back a crush of student voters looking to tip the scales. Usually, the opposite is true, taking a monumental effort to coax students buried in studies and smartphones to vote once, let alone twice.

There is much more in the story.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 10, 2013 09:41 AM
Posted to Indiana Law