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March 8, 2011 10:52 PM   Subscribe

New Hampshire House Republicans are pushing for new laws that would prohibit many college students from voting in the state - and effectively keep some from voting at all. "Voting as a liberal. That's what kids do," [State Speaker William O'Brien] added, his comments taped by a state Democratic Party staffer and posted on YouTube. Students lack "life experience," and "they just vote their feelings." WaPo. Youtube. Yick Wo.
posted by Navelgazer (90 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
If we let idealistic 18 year olds run the world I suspect we'd be a lot better off.
posted by fshgrl at 11:01 PM on March 8, 2011 [19 favorites]


"Election policy debates like photo ID and same-day registration have become so fierce around the country because they are founded more on passionate belief than proven fact," said Doug Chapin, an election-law expert at the Pew Center on the States. "One side is convinced fraud is rampant; the other believes that disenfranchisement is widespread. Neither can point to much in the way of evidence to support their position, so they simply turn up the volume."

I ♥ Pew Center. +1 for Yick Wo.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:04 PM on March 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


Breaking news: Old people move for bill to prevent young people from standing on their lawns.
posted by inedible at 11:14 PM on March 8, 2011 [20 favorites]


Called-for punishments rumored to be rake related.
posted by inedible at 11:16 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't women vote with their feelings? And people who don't own property, they don't have a vested interest in voting properly. Cut them out too.
posted by polyhedron at 11:18 PM on March 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


His argument is really an argument against any young people voting, not just college students. Someone should ask him what the age limit for voting should be -- 25? 35?
posted by creasy boy at 11:22 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Has this fuckwit never heard of Young Republicans before? Because at my college those assholes were all about registering like-minded sociopaths to vote, from county dog-catcher on up.

That, and not getting laid ever.
posted by bardic at 11:23 PM on March 8, 2011 [15 favorites]


These kids today, what with their rock and roll music, literacy, hula hoops, and their suffrage. They should be put to work in the mines at age 8, that's what made this country great!
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:25 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Temporal gerrymandering?
posted by lumensimus at 11:25 PM on March 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Aren't these the guys who want to argue a verbatim interpretation of the constitution whenever someone suggests that you ought not be allowed to by water cooled machine guns at 7-11?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:27 PM on March 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


"His argument is really an argument against any young people voting, not just college students. Someone should ask him what the age limit for voting should be -- 25? 35?"

Since mental decline starts at 27, I guess we should argue that only people that are 27 can vote.
posted by Mr_Zero at 11:32 PM on March 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


Wasn't it the youth of America that hounded LBJ and Nixon during the war? Now that was a life experience for more of life's experiences! Old man McNamara couldn't do it from the inside. It took the self preserving youth of America to give her conscience a voice. How quickly they forget!
posted by Mag Plug at 11:35 PM on March 8, 2011


Oddly, I can kind of understand where they're coming from on some of these measures. Not all of them. But wanting college students to vote in their home districts rather than their college district? Kinda understand.

I went to a very liberal college in a very conservative district. Students from other states and districts were heavily encouraged to register to vote in the college's district. Now, the college wasn't that big, so the students probably didn't have that much of an impact - a couple hundred or a couple thousand enthusiastic college kids were never going to unseat the basically unbeatable Republican congressman, for one thing. But we sure would have liked to. And the surrounding communities, the people who actually lived there permanently, probably wouldn't have appreciated a bunch of transient college kids messing with who they wanted to elect.

Then again, in which places is there actually a significant enough majority of students to mess with local politics? Although college students can be a large population of a town, they don't tend to care about town-level issues like the school board, and I can't imagine they could make up a majority in a congressional district somewhere. So, while I can understand the knee-jerk "darn kids" reaction, I don't think it holds up to examination. I would be really curious to know whether there have actually been problems with this in New Hampshire or whether it's just all rhetoric.
posted by mandanza at 11:38 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


(To be clear, obviously I'm not down with the proposed measures. Can understand where the feeling comes from; do not support.)
posted by mandanza at 11:44 PM on March 8, 2011


Any resident can have a vote for any party that he wants, so long as it is Republican.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 11:51 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


But wanting college students to vote in their home districts rather than their college district?

But to put it another way, why should they vote in the district they used to live in (what you call their "home district") rather than the district where they're living now? If an 18-year-old moved somewhere for a job rather than for college, you would expect them to vote in their new district, no matter how often they went back to visit their parents.
posted by creasy boy at 11:52 PM on March 8, 2011 [9 favorites]


"Oddly, I can kind of understand where they're coming from on some of these measures. Not all of them. But wanting college students to vote in their home districts rather than their college district? Kinda understand."

I am from Arizona and we have the opposite of this. There is a massive number of elderly people that migrate to Arizona each year and they are still here for the vote.
posted by Mr_Zero at 12:03 AM on March 9, 2011


the people who actually lived there permanently, probably wouldn't have appreciated a bunch of transient college kids messing with who they wanted to elect.

I'm somewhat baffled by describing college students as transients. Is it just understood that these college towns are such complete shit-holes that no one in their right mind would want to stay there after they finish college? Why is that a problem that should be solved by denying adults their constitutionally protected right to participate in a democratic election rather than, I dunno, not being a shit-hole that people want to escape at the earliest opportunity.
posted by cj_ at 12:05 AM on March 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Some states don't allow first time voters to vote absentee. So if I were from Michigan (or TN, LA) and going to school in New Hampshire, it would be extremely hard to vote.
posted by vasi at 12:06 AM on March 9, 2011


God, I love America for looking out after the old crotchety cantankerous fucks. Oh wait, we elected them.
posted by JLovebomb at 12:09 AM on March 9, 2011


And nobody who earns under $100k should be allowed to vote since they don't really have a vested interest in society. (Is it just me or has this country gone completely insane?)
posted by gallois at 12:33 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Campaigns are won with some very simple math. You find out how many votes your candidate is likely to get and how many your opponent is likely to get. You find these numbers based on voting history and some finesse. If the math works in your favor you just remind everyone to vote. If it doesn't, part of what you do is register people. On one campaign we registered over a thousand latinos and elected the first latino city councilmember by 85 votes. Voter suppression and disenfranchisement are common strategies of the unscrupulous and we would have lost if we didn't break our asses.

This isn't just a Republican thing, though they sure are the biggest advocates for it. But disenfranchising people is the goal of the status quo. One impoverished, Democrat run city spends thousands of dollars to hold school board elections in the middle of winter (and fuck them for making me canvas in a foot of god damn snow). Another Republican state has too few voting booths and shuts down voting at a certain time.

The status quo loves power and will do what ever it can to stay in power and this sort of voter manipulation goes on most places I have worked. I just wish more voters were aware of it.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:35 AM on March 9, 2011 [14 favorites]


mandanza: "Oddly, I can kind of understand where they're coming from on some of these measures. Not all of them. But wanting college students to vote in their home districts rather than their college district? Kinda understand."

What in the shit? When I was in college I lived in that city for 75% of the year. So instead of wanting me to be engaged in the community I was part of, you'd have me either not vote or vote in a place where I live for only 3 months out of the year? And why exactly don't college students count the same as other people who live in any place for 4+ years?

It's shit like this that makes it really hard for me to bother pretending all political opinions are equally valid. If your party is actively, literally, trying to disenfranchise people from the political process, I think it's fair to declare that it is made up of shitty ass people. Fucking traitors to democracy.
posted by danny the boy at 12:39 AM on March 9, 2011 [39 favorites]


Oh BTW mandanza, not aiming my remarks at you personally. It just fills me with disgust to see politicians manipulate our tribalness so blatantly.
posted by danny the boy at 12:42 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Every day and in every way the GOP has declared war on all the demographics soon to render it the party of election FAIL forever. From the top: Immigrants (most importantly Hispanics), Women, Union members, LGBT folks and ta da!! College kids who think the GOP is freaky, because it's completely out of touch and will continue to think that as long as they attack the above sectors of the populace.

They need to make their power grab now, before the unfolding next decade renders them irrelevant.

I'm starting to think they're all working from a similar White Paper or population study funded by the Koch Bros. or the Heritage Foundation or the Neocon American Enterprise Institute.

This has got to end. These geriatric political people just need to fucking retire and get a hobby, already.
posted by Skygazer at 1:25 AM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Has this fuckwit never heard of Young Republicans before?

The Young Republicans at Dartmouth, at least, aren't amused. More recent coverage at The Dartmouth.
posted by XMLicious at 1:55 AM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Iirc the right to vote for 18 year olds is among the rights protected by the constitution. I know most Republicans usually are only focused on the second amendment. they really ought toread to read the rest of the document.
posted by humanfont at 2:43 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


"And I would have stole that election too if it weren't for those meddling kids!"
posted by XhaustedProphet at 2:45 AM on March 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


My University is pretty big, and the students who live off campus have a fairly bad time with surrounding communities which want to have them pay rent and shop at the stores but otherwise "stay off the lawns." These communities are very willing to create regulations to make student's lives difficult, and, if students could not register to vote in those local elections., I expect it would get even more out of hand. So, national politics aside, this is insane on a local level.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:54 AM on March 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


From my view in N.H.

I would think some College Kids Voting (or CKV) assisted William O'Brien being elected but if we can prevent that , I am for it .

I want to see the opposite effect - this should motivate students .

In the mean time we are trying to prevent "College" from happening in the first place. It starts in Kindergarten, it is a gateway.
posted by epjr at 3:09 AM on March 9, 2011


What a weird notion of adulthood this is. I can have a job and pay taxes, but not vote on how they're spent because I'm too young? I wonder if he's against letting young people enlist for the same reasons; I suspect not. This is really too stupid to even be hypocrisy, it's just self-serving idiocy from somebody who knows they're on the wrong side of history.
posted by mhoye at 3:25 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


What's funny is that, judging from the quote from Privilege Sunderland the Third, campus Young Republicans aren't offended at being disenfranchised. Primarily they're offended at being mistaken for liberals (gasp!)
posted by newdaddy at 3:51 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


... and if you aren't working, or unable to work, you shouldn't be allowed to vote either. That should stop those welfare folks from taking our money! You know, those folks who work, and one day, just show up at work and say they have to stop... beacause they're older? You know the ones - they've conspired together, to basically hold the system in political hostage. Do you think it is coincidental thatthey all seem to have done this at 65 and - just to throw us off the scent of the cospiracy - now do this at 67? Some ofthem even flaunt their abuse of the system by taking extravagant all inclusive trips overseas and their second homes out of state near the beach. Now those folks - those folks shouldn't vote.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:54 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


What in the shit? When I was in college I lived in that city for 75% of the year. So instead of wanting me to be engaged in the community I was part of, you'd have me either not vote or vote in a place where I live for only 3 months out of the year?

I don't agree with the measure in question even remotely, but I know that politically-aware college kids take advantage of their peculiar residency situation for maximum impact. So he's not a crackpot seeing something that isn't there (even if he's a crypto-fascist who wants to subvert democracy.)

For instance, I went to school in a state and district that was fairly solidly Democrat. I came from a state that's a peculiar down-the-middle divide of Democrats and ignorant, poor Republicans anxious to shoot themselves in the foot over waving flags and promises to reduce taxes that they don't actually pay. So I knew that my vote would potentially have more impact in my home state, and voted absentee accordingly. If I thought I had a better chance of helping a Democrat in my school state, that's where I would have voted.

Everyone wants to use the system to their advantage. But even if you don't like the results you're seeing you just have to live with it because any efforts to reduce voting access outside of reducing obvious fraud just erodes democracy.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:21 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


My rule of thumb is pretty simple. Those who want to contract the franchise, make it harder to exercise it, subvert its intent or hide from its results are the worst sort of pseudo-royalist scum on the planet and have no business holding office. Ever. Anywhere. Please tell me there's a massive effort to unseat this horse's ass.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 4:25 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Students lack "life experience," and "they just vote their feelings.

Kind of hard to refute that; I would extend that to most voters as well however.
posted by AndrewKemendo at 4:55 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


We had a similar fight when I was in school. We had a group on campus who was trying to sign up everyone - left and right alike - to vote in the city where the school was. The town didn't like it so much, and was trying to pass an ordnance barring the students from being allowed to register there.

There was a bit of animosity between the school and the city. The city was pretty poor - one of those post-industrial towns that had fallen into ruin after the manufacturing jobs left - and the school was buying up the city as fast as it could. However, the result of that buying spree was that the college graduates were staying in the town and starting businesses there.

So, by preventing students from registering makes it seem like you don't want them there, and you don't want them to stay. And especially for New Hampshire, if you really want all your young talent just to move down to Boston, we'll be more than happy to take them.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:25 AM on March 9, 2011


One side is convinced fraud is rampant; the other believes that disenfranchisement is widespread. Neither can point to much in the way of evidence to support their position, so they simply turn up the volume.

Isn't this bill, right here, evidence of intent to impede votes and/or make them less effective, aka disenfranchisement? Requiring students to vote in their home district forces them to either travel home on election day (which is still on a school day) or fill out an absentee ballot. I actually tried to do this my first year of college, and the ballot did not arrive in time and I could not vote. The next year I was rightly determined not to be a resident of my "home" district. Thankfully I lived in a state which had not yet ruled that I could not vote in my freaking place of residence merely because I was a student!
posted by muddgirl at 5:35 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I thought this issue had been adjudicated in the 1960's. I recall changes happening that allowed the students to vote local to school. Maybe it was Michigan only.
posted by Goofyy at 5:47 AM on March 9, 2011


Then again, in which places is there actually a significant enough majority of students to mess with local politics?
I live in a place like that. And here's how I see it. Students are residents and citizens, and they have a genuine stake in this community. Sure, they don't generally have kids who attend public schools, but they use all sorts of other city services. For instance, they are much more likely to rent their homes than permanent residents are, and they are much more likely to live in apartments. If only non-students vote, then the needs of renters and apartment-dwellers will be ignored. They're less likely to have a car and more reliant on public transit than non-students. They have a different and usually more contentious relationship with the police than the rest of us do.

They have the same right as everyone else to have their interests represented. Sometimes I am very annoyed by what they perceive their interests to be, but that's the nature of democracy. And I don't think it's a particularly good thing for a community if a large group of people is systematically denied political representation.

Of course, this is all a little moot, because the students mostly don't vote....
posted by craichead at 5:57 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


My University is pretty big, and the students who live off campus have a fairly bad time with surrounding communities which want to have them pay rent and shop at the stores but otherwise "stay off the lawns."

What is wrong with staying off the lawns? I want the college kids off my lawn (i.e., not driving 60 mph down my street, not keeping me up at night with loud music, not yelling in the streets for no reason, not driving while on the phone, not failing to clean up after their dogs, not spilling beer in the hallway, not neglecting to close the front door), but I have no problem with them voting. Nuance is possible.
posted by limeonaire at 6:11 AM on March 9, 2011


From the article in The Dartmouth, linked above:
Numerous individuals present at the hearing, including State Rep. David Pierce, D-Grafton, and UNH constitutional law professor John Greabe ’85, cited Newberger v. Peterson — a 1972 federal district court decision that ruled the state cannot bar college students from voting in New Hampshire even if they intend to leave after graduation. According to the ruling, such policies violate the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

Sorg [the bill's sponsor] said he had not read the Newberger v. Peterson case and did not “care” for it.
Well, that's definitely the kind of lawmaker I want!
posted by rtha at 6:21 AM on March 9, 2011 [18 favorites]


...wow, rtha. Just wow.
posted by jaduncan at 6:23 AM on March 9, 2011


If it were just Republicans trying to block liberal students from voting, that would be one thing, but what makes it scarier is that plenty of "ultraliberal" college towns endorse similar voter suppression measures. The main areas where nonstudent residents tend to fear student power are renter's rights and high-density development -- not the right sort of liberalism at all. At one point in the college town where I lived, there was even a push to exempt summer workers (i.e., students) from the city's living wage law with the argument that they were just "seasonal" workers without families to support. A lot of these towns are in swing states, but the "Coexist"-bumper-sticker-sporting residents are more concerned about their property values than the results of national elections.
posted by Ralston McTodd at 6:35 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Any resident can have a vote for any party that he wants, so long as it is Republican

They can vote for either of the two major parties: Republican or Tea.
posted by drezdn at 6:36 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


So students are the ones that were moved to vote due to "death panels," "welfare queens," "babykillers" and candidates "I'd rather have a beer with"?
posted by giraffe at 6:45 AM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


My state is trying to eliminate same day voter registrations. This doesn't currently affect me personally as I've lived here for two years, but until two years ago, I was constantly registering for elections the day of the election.

It seems specifically designed to cut down on voting by people that might move alot, ie. the young and/or poor.
posted by drezdn at 6:48 AM on March 9, 2011


Although college students can be a large population of a town, they don't tend to care about town-level issues like the school board,

Because 18 year old college students care so much about the school board in their home town? Further, this all presupposes they have a 'home town.' What if their parents moved after they went to college? What if they're estranged from their parents and have no home town as such? What if they're from the same area as the school? Things get really messy once you depart from a bright line rule.

and I can't imagine they could make up a majority in a congressional district somewhere

Not only majority interests should be represented by the winner of an election. They are all his or her constituents even if they didn't vote for him or her. Beyond that, though, if college students aren't a majority in the school's district they almost certainly aren't a majority in their 'home' district, so this seems like a distinction without a difference.
posted by jedicus at 6:53 AM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


There was a bit of animosity between the school and the city. The city was pretty poor - one of those post-industrial towns that had fallen into ruin after the manufacturing jobs left - and the school was buying up the city as fast as it could. However, the result of that buying spree was that the college graduates were staying in the town and starting businesses there.

This describes our nearby college town perfectly. My husband works at the college, and we understand this to a certain degree- the college is buying property left and right, and pays no taxes, so the taxes paid by the homeowners is going up, and that is causing some friction.

But without the college, there would be NOTHING there but the ore dock. Downtown is supported by students on foot, and by students who stay and start new ventures. A ridiculous number of student houses are owner occupied- it's so much cheaper to own than rent there that a lot of students buy their homes because they know they want to stay there after graduation (I've talked to a few who have, no lie, used their financial aid refund check as their down payment), or their parents buy a house which the student then "rents" because it's a good investment all around.

Our county is consistently blue in elections. I suspect this has less to do with college students in particular voting, and more to with the influence of the university as a whole. But our county is the biggest one in our state; it's 1000 square miles bigger than Delaware, so I wonder how much the one college that might be hours away impacts those voters way out in the townships.

Anyway, this asinine proposal clearly runs counter to the 26th Amendment. So good luck with that, idiots.
posted by Leta at 6:57 AM on March 9, 2011


I'm starting to think they're all working from a similar White Paper or population study funded by the Koch Bros. or the Heritage Foundation or the Neocon American Enterprise Institute.

Apparently they are, actually.
posted by hippybear at 6:58 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a datapoint: Hillary Clinton got into some trouble with my (very liberal) college campus in Iowa during the last presidential cycle because she (or one of her surrogates) expressed the opinion that out-of-state college kids shouldn't be participating in the Iowa Caucuses. We had a large number of delegates. I doubt it helped her much. Pissed off the College Dems something fierce.

When I started college, I voted in my 'home' district, but I changed my registration because I felt more in tune with local issues after a year in Iowa. Many college-aged kids adults don't get a chance to vote in a (major) election prior to entering college; I doubt they're any more or less invested in the alderman race in their hometown relative to wherever they're attending college.
posted by dismas at 7:19 AM on March 9, 2011


The New Hampshire republicans tried something like this when I was in law school. Then, the effort hinged on "residence" versus "domicile", and the idea that while college students may reside in their college town (on campus or off), many of them claim their hometown as their domicile, purportedly to avoid the need to get a driver's license in the college state, to register their car there, etc.

The idea was to add language to the voter registration form that explains the difference between residence and domicile, and warning people that registering would change their domicile status, which could (in theory) impact scholarship eligibility and require them to get the license/register their car etc. In other words, scare them off.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:31 AM on March 9, 2011


When the Republicans finally get the country they want, I imagine I'll be thrown into one of their de-education camps.
posted by Legomancer at 7:37 AM on March 9, 2011 [4 favorites]




Since mental decline starts at 27, I guess we should argue that only people that are 27 can vote.

As a 27-year-old I heartily agree with your idea. As long as whoever we vote into office moves the voting age up by a year each year. Which they'll do, because they like getting elected.
posted by madcaptenor at 7:45 AM on March 9, 2011


This is bullshit, of course, but it's not new.

Come now, clearly there is no evidence of voter disenfranchisement, so these things of course didn't occur. It's all a librul bleeding-heart fever dream.
posted by muddgirl at 7:46 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sorg [the bill's sponsor] said he had not read the Newberger v. Peterson case and did not “care” for it.

Yeah ... screw legal precedent!
posted by ericb at 7:56 AM on March 9, 2011


There's lots of law I don't care for.

*Strips nude, retakes seat on subway*
posted by Mister_A at 7:58 AM on March 9, 2011


Basically they're pushing to return to the voting standards of America's Founders. White, male, landowners only. (Can anybody tell me with a straight face why that could possibly be called a "Democracy"?)
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:01 AM on March 9, 2011


What is wrong with staying off the lawns?

Because when you accept the student's rent money, you are accepting the students. And they will want to live their lives where they, you know, live. And there are already laws against driving down the street at 60mph and noise violations and the like. I see a lot of stuff around here that pretty much boils down to "don't be young." Or, preferably, "pay your 9 months of rent and then die."
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:18 AM on March 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Before you get too up in arms about today's evil Republicans, this is not an uncommon discussion. I'm not saying they aren't evil, just that this is an age old conflict in college towns.

Is it just understood that these college towns are such complete shit-holes that no one in their right mind would want to stay there after they finish college?

Hanover, NH, home of Dartmouth College, is far from a shithole. That said, there's nothing freaking there - very little motivation to stay after graduation and even fewer job opportunities. (Lebanon, though, is kind of a shithole.) Durham, home of UNH, is likewise quite small and even more influenced by the college.

Because 18 year old college students care so much about the school board in their home town?

Frankly, yes. Or they care *more* to be more accurate. If there are changes afoot in the school system you attended, you are far more likely to have a relevent opinion on them.

Because when you accept the student's rent money, you are accepting the students.

Yeah, lots of these students aren't paying rent. They're living in dormitories on tax-exempt university-owned land.
posted by maryr at 8:29 AM on March 9, 2011


This is stupid.

References:

Constitution of the United States of America, 26th Amendment:

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Rules of the Internet, Sections 13 and 14:

13. Nothing is Sacred.
14. Do not argue with a troll — it means that they win.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 8:32 AM on March 9, 2011


"They're living in dormitories on tax-exempt university-owned land."

Well, we can solve that easily enough by ending that damned property-tax exemption for non-profits, and returning all the real-estate to the tax rolls...
posted by mikelieman at 8:34 AM on March 9, 2011


Yeah, lots of these students aren't paying rent. They're living in dormitories on tax-exempt university-owned land.

I don't know your definition of "lots", but IME there are very few colleges that offer on-campus housing to all students, and generally they are on the smaller side of the scale. Most universities offer on-campus housing to only about 1/4 of their students.
posted by muddgirl at 8:36 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


My mom had similar grumblings when Bill Clinton got elected, blaming MTV and their "Rock The Vote"... I've never understood how Republicans view "ideals" and "empathy" and "concern for things other than maximizing profits" as frivolous, childish concepts that one should "grow out of."
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:40 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Because when you accept the student's rent money, you are accepting the students. And they will want to live their lives where they, you know, live.
That's awesome! They get to live their lives! But when people talk about wanting students to get off their lawns, they often mean that they literally want the students not to loiter on their lawns. And they're actually entitled to have students not be on their lawns, because trespassing remains illegal even if you've just left the most awesomely cool house party ever and are totally wasted, dude. I can respect the rights of students and still wish they were less prone to puke on the sidewalks.

These dynamics are pretty complicated in college towns. The students are the reason that those towns exist, but other residents also have some legitimate grievances related to students. But none of this stuff has anything to do with whether students should be disenfranchised.
posted by craichead at 8:40 AM on March 9, 2011


Most universities offer on-campus housing to only about 1/4 of their students

I'm sorry, a quick Google search tends to support your statement. I guess just the college I attended, those in the surrounding area, and those in the area I grew up in had an unusually high precentage of on-campus students.
posted by maryr at 8:52 AM on March 9, 2011


But none of this stuff has anything to do with whether students should be disenfranchised.

Except in the sense that aggravating and exploiting petty cultural resentments for political gain is the current Republican party's favorite political play because it so often works.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:53 AM on March 9, 2011


My giant university had 3 polling places open in the '08 election, all with at least a 2-hour wait to vote. There were hundreds of people still waiting when the polls closed. Meanwhile, as a homeowner I got to vote with zero wait.
posted by miyabo at 8:53 AM on March 9, 2011


Sorg [the bill's sponsor] said he had not read the Newberger v. Peterson case and did not “care” for it.

All you need to know about the Republican mindset, right there.
posted by quin at 8:59 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]




It is worth noting that the on campus students are paying the college in some form for the room and board so they are still paying rent to the college. Also as the purchasers of what the school is selling they are also indirectly the biggest source of income many of these towns. They may not pay much property tax but you can bet their professors do.
posted by The Violet Cypher at 9:30 AM on March 9, 2011


Some colleges/universities make payments each year in lieu of taxes. For example, Harvard and M.I.T. each make annual payments to the City of Cambridge with the annual payments increasing every year.
posted by ericb at 9:36 AM on March 9, 2011


So under the proposal, the late GG Allin, god rest his soul, would have still been registered to vote in his home district of Lancaster, New Hampshire.
posted by wcfields at 9:51 AM on March 9, 2011


They may not pay much property tax but you can bet their professors do.

...Right, but professors can and usually do live a few towns over, where they don't have to deal with loud undergrads.
posted by maryr at 10:12 AM on March 9, 2011


And no one is suggesting disenfranchising them.
posted by maryr at 10:13 AM on March 9, 2011


The small town where I went to college had terrible, terrible off campus housing. As in my husband lived in a house held up by a jack. The heat did not work. When a repairman came, he refused to fix it because he didn't want to be liable when my husband died of carbon monoxide poisoning. He moved out and they tried to come after him for unpaid rent. The city ordinances were very poorly written, and not enforced. Turns out 3 members of the city council (which had 5 members) were landlords.

So, students decided to start a voter registration drive so we could do something about the state of off campus housing.

I went home and told my parents about this. I was very, very excited to see democracy in action and to be part of actually doing something to fix the problem. My dad then told me that "Students should not be voting in that town because they had no economic interest there." I was aghast. My dad, who for years took me with him to his polling place, was now telling me I shouldn't get to vote in a place I lived 3/4 of the year because I had no economic interest there.

I called him an elitist, and that was pretty much the last serious conversation we had about politics or political philosophy. 15 years ago.
posted by fyrebelley at 10:32 AM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


My dad then told me that "Students should not be voting in that town because they had no economic interest there."

Yeah, that's pretty much the same argument that comes up ad nauseam. I heard that when I was in college in 19dickety5 too. It was wrong then, and it's wrong now.
posted by blucevalo at 10:47 AM on March 9, 2011


But when people talk about wanting students to get off their lawns, they often mean that they literally want the students not to loiter on their lawns.

Possibly in your part of the country. It's not how the newspapers read in my area. And my university has dorm space for maybe 25% of the 13,000 or so students who attend my institution. Most of them are renters (or living at home), where property taxes get paid. As far as being tax-exempt, my institution is the largest employer in the southern half of my state. If we were a private business, I expect the state legislature would be falling over itself to offer us money, so it could claim it was "creating jobs."

Weirdly, when the state actually does create jobs by, you know, hiring people, that doesn't count as creating jobs. You apparently have to efficiently give money to your friends in business, so they might hire a person or two, to "create jobs."
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:58 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]




fyrebelley: "So, students decided to start a voter registration drive so we could do something about the state of off campus housing. "

Bummer about your dad. Did the voter registration drive work? Was there an uplifting montage culminating in election trumph? I must know!
posted by giraffe at 11:02 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


So much shit going down in this country, and this is the sort of shit that shitty Republicans are spewing from their shit-holes. And we, as a body, elected them, which means we're both full of shit and covered with it.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:46 AM on March 9, 2011


When I was in college I lived in that city for 75% of the year. So instead of wanting me to be engaged in the community I was part of, you'd have me either not vote or vote in a place where I live for only 3 months out of the year?
What danny the boy said. I'm in a similar position. However, my town is small enough that the college students really can make a difference in some referenda—a fact that student groups exploit. For example, one student group wants to prevent the college from opening a hotel with a bar, so they are getting students to sign a petition that will put a referendum on the school's liquor license on the May ballot (we are otherwise a dry town and the school has an exception).

The problem here is that there are enough students to get the referendum on the ballot, but then they'll all go away before the vote. While they could vote absentee, most will have forgotten or simply won't bother. Thus, the otherwise dry town will likely vote to revoke the license, making the hotel not viable (since it's small and the liquor license would help bring in revenue). So, while the students are a major voice in the town and have a stake here, the timing of votes can make them undependable and thus some places don't even need to pass laws like the ones being discussed in NH. It's an interesting problem when dealing with college populations, but I still want my vote.
posted by willhopkins at 12:30 PM on March 9, 2011


When I went to college, I lived there 100% of the year (I went home for about 3 days at Christmas, and the occasional day trip). If you had asked me whether I planned to stay in that city after graduating, I would have told you that I had no idea, and you should ask me again when I graduated. As a student I didn't have much interest in local politics, either in the city where I lived and studied, OR in the city where my parents lived.
posted by Joh at 2:06 PM on March 9, 2011


You can't make these rules based on where people "intend" to live. I have a job that is a one-year contract position, in a city that I have not lived in before. Do I intend to stay here long-term? I don't know. Does that mean that I shouldn't be allowed to vote here, while, say, someone who had also not lived here before but moved here because they married someone who lived here should be allowed to vote? No way. If that was the rule, and then if life happened and I still lived here ten years from now, can I retroactively vote in the election from the year I moved here?
posted by madcaptenor at 2:52 PM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


giraffe: Bummer about your dad. Did the voter registration drive work? Was there an uplifting montage culminating in election trumph? I must know!

No, it didn't work. But then we all climbed on top of desks and recited Walt Whitman, so all in all, still life changing.
posted by fyrebelley at 3:06 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh Captain, My Captain!
posted by ericb at 3:25 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, lots of these students aren't paying rent. They're living in dormitories on tax-exempt university-owned land.

Many in rooms that resemble prison cells, it should be noted.

If I'm pumping a hundred thousand dollars plus into the state economy - particularly if the education industry, which the state undoubtedly profits from in many ways, has induced me to pump a hundred thousand dollars plus into the state economy and put it on a credit card - I damn well better be able to vote. If the state or municipality decided to give out a tax break to retain or cultivate the education industry it's their own damn fault.

It's a little bit ridiculous - no, wait, it's totally and completely ridiculous - to complain about students not paying some little margin of taxes when many of them are basically selling themselves into indentured servitude for the privilege of residing in that state in what for a fair portion of the college experience may amount to living in a concrete bunker: and guess what, the student gets to be a captive audience to their college or university's housing services.

And why is that? Oh, yeah, it's because the state and surrounding municipality doesn't give a crap about affordable housing for a bunch of "rich" college students (who in actuality are in the process of accumulating substantial negative net worth) and is happy to leave them to mercy of avaricious landlords who baldly engage in age discrimination to relegate them to the crappiest properties while charging them double what anyone who didn't have to live within walking distance of the university would ever be willing to pay.

</rant>

tl;dr The states and municipalities who "generously" play host to a population of students are lucratively compensated for any annoyances stemming from that and are participating in shafting the students in a number of ways besides. Handwavey rationalizing excuses about how students are irresponsible and untrustworthy fall far short of justifying the irresponsible, untrustworthy, and unethical part that the state and municipalities take in the general societal shafting of all those students, both the untrustworthy ones and the trustworthy ones.
posted by XMLicious at 8:17 PM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maryr And no one is suggesting disenfranchising them.

From the article: One bill would permit students to vote in their college towns only if they or their parents had previously established permanent residency there

From the state constitution: A resident or inhabitant or both of this state and of any city, town or other political subdivision of this state shall be a person who is domiciled or has a place of abode or both in this state and in any city, town or other political subdivision of this state, and who has, through all of his actions, demonstrated a current intent to designate that place of abode as his principal place of physical presence for the indefinite future to the exclusion of all others.

So, in addition to disenfranchising students who do not live in town year round, it would also make the homeless ineligible to vote.

If students want to vote in NH they would have to not move in with your family when on break and give up the right to vote there. So those who can afford to live off campus can vote, but those who are too poor are out of luck. And what happens if a student goes to school in NH but is from another state that has a similar law? Well, then they just wouldn't be able to vote anywhere.

No one is suggesting disenfranchisement, they are being quite explicit about it.
posted by munchingzombie at 1:16 AM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]




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