Ominous News for Full Timers - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-22-2008, 04:10 PM   #1
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Full-time RVers' voting suit dismissed


By BILL POOVEY Associated Press Writer
2008 The Associated Press

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit
filed by full-time RVers who were bumped from the Tennessee voter
rolls because they live on the open road.

Bradley County officials who dropped 286 RV owners from the rolls in
2006 did not violate their right to vote or their right to travel,
U.S. District Judge Curtis L. Collier ruled.

The lawsuit, filed by three of the RV owners in November, said the
purged retirees had registered in Tennessee using the street address
and box number of a business that forwards their mail. Some of the
retirees said they chose Tennessee for residency because there is no
state income tax.

State election officials said residency means more than a mail box
number, and Collier said that is a valid law.

The lawsuit contended the state treated RVers differently from
homeless people, but the judge's ruling said "homeless people are
residents of the place they live, even if that place is a park bench,
while plaintiffs have not clearly pointed to any place they live."

Tricia Herzfeld, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union-
Tennessee who represents the RVers, said she was talking with them
about options that include a possible appeal. She declined to comment
further.

Although some of the retirees said they no longer own property in the
state where they previously lived, and in some instances were told
they were no longer eligible to return and register, Tennessee
Election Coordinator Brook Thompson said "they never lost residency
where they came from."

Thompson said Wednesday that he had not seen the decision and that the
rule has always been that you have to move to Tennessee with an intent
to remain a resident, even if you travel.

One of the purged retirees, Mike Bruner, said the ruling was "just
disheartening."

The 61-year-old said he and his wife have been traveling since selling
their home in Missouri. Bruner said he purchased the mailbox in
Bradley County in 2002 and used that address to vote in the 2004
presidential election.

"Not being able to express our feelings on our vote seems to be a
right denied," Bruner said in a telephone interview from Houston. "We
feel we are a very patriotic couple and want to express our view with
our vote, and that is not going to happen."

The Census Bureau says more than 105,000 Americans live full-time in
RVs, boats or vans, though one RV group says the number is more like
half a million. Many RV full-timers are registered in one of nine
states that have no general personal income tax: Alaska, Florida,
Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and
Wyoming.

In 2000, a federal judge in Texas sided with more than 9,000 RV full-
timers after county officials challenged their eligibility to vote.
The RVers used a mail-forwarding service.
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Old 02-22-2008, 04:57 PM   #2
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well. That, uhm...

stinks.
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Old 02-22-2008, 06:31 PM   #3
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To those 286 RV fulltimers, HOWDY and welcome to Texas!
Looks like Escapees in Livingston, Texas has some new recruits.

Tom Trostel
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Old 02-22-2008, 06:53 PM   #4
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Yeah, the Texas courts have reportedly twice upheld the validity of Escapees as voters. I suspect the Tennessee ruling will get overturned on appeal because residency is something that one declares, not owns, and I believe the only defense against it is to prove one is a resident elsewhere.
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Old 02-22-2008, 07:03 PM   #5
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As an American Citizen, one of the basic Rights is to be able to VOTE.
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Old 02-22-2008, 09:32 PM   #6
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As an American Citizen, one of the basic Rights is to be able to VOTE.
Apparently not in Tennessee.

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Old 02-23-2008, 07:02 AM   #7
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I agree with webguy, but the rub is in the implementation of when/how someone votes. We can't keep track of anyone in this country and it would be far to easy to create massive voter fraud. Saw it happen here in Oregon, big time, about 25 years ago. But I really don't see much difference between a homeless person using the address of a park bench and a retiree using a PO Box. The only way this will be resolved is if the ACLU gets involved. 10-to-1 that's what happened to declare a park bench address satisfactory.
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Old 02-23-2008, 01:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
As an American Citizen, one of the basic Rights is to be able to VOTE.
It is and it isn't. The states are allowed to set many of the requirements, esp with regard to local elections. I believe that TN will lose the appeals, presuming they are done correctly, and since the ACLU is involved and it's basic stuf it will be given some attention, with regard to the national vote. However, the local vote may be another story because how do you determine the districts for a person not present?

For example, if one makes an interstate move at the wrong time, one may not have time to meet the minimum time to meet the receiving state's voter registration requirements...

Many/most/all states have residency requirements built into the driver's license system, in part because authorities want to know where to find people. I know Florida states in the law that a friend's address may be used as residence address. When I was domiciled in Florida, my mailing address was the mail service, but my physical residence, per the Florida voting laws, was my county courthouse street address.

I just visited this thread on the Escapees Forum about this subject (Don't need to be a forum member [free] to lurk and read, but do need to be one to post).
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Old 03-18-2008, 12:15 PM   #9
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The 'Judge' will be over-turned. State-residency is a matter of intent, and that point of law has been upheld in numerous cases.

My question is...

Who in the heck is clerkin' for this Judge?

j
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Old 03-18-2008, 01:55 PM   #10
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He may have made the judgment to satisfy local pressures, knowing it would likely be overturned.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:00 AM   #11
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I am suprised the IRS is not involved.
If you have lived in Mo. where there is state income tax and then go full time RV ing and use a non tax state as residence even though you have never lived there, it would seem to me you would be open to tax evasion. But because it is only stae tax they probably do not have any power, and states probably don't talk to one another.
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Old 03-19-2008, 03:12 PM   #12
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Interestingly, the IRS doesn't care where you domicile or reside (can be different), unless the last is overseas, just where you earned the money. If you happen to be domiciled in one state and earn all your earned income (not investments) in a far-away state, IRS wants you to file with office covering the far-away state (but maintain your mailing address in their files).

This can a common FT problem, where the losing state tries to keep one in their tax system and the gaining state usually doesn't care, however in this case TN locals care.

As mentioned above, domiclie is a matter of intention, esp when that intention is on file with courthouses in both states (Declaration of Domicile and Declaration of Non-Domicile). It can all get very twisted, esp when one is buying/selling vehicles or real estate, or when one gets involved in personal estates and probate. Good legal advice is recommended.

Bottom line is to NOT have anything going that will show your intentions are different than declared.

BTW, I labeled this ominous because there has always been a tendency by mankind to treat root-less people with less than trust, and in heightened security times, FT rights may be forgotten in efforts to like people to a verifiable physical address.
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Old 03-20-2008, 02:53 AM   #13
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That's pretty disturbing. Where are these folk supposed to vote?
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Old 03-20-2008, 11:52 AM   #14
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NIMBY - Not in my back yard -- AKA not my problem -- Someplace Else -- Your problem, not ours...

The problem with some of this stuf is that it is developed out of context with the big picture. Also, the individual states can set there own voter registration requirements. It is possible to move between states at the wrong time and put voting rights at risk.

When I registered to vote at county courthouse in Florida on second floor, they confirmed that I could use the courthouse street address as my domicile (but NOT for mail; my VR and DL show mail address on face and courthouse address in computer). When I went down to Recorder's office on first floor to file official Declaration of Domicile, they wouldn't let me put courthouse address! I put mail address and advised supervisor that she should talk with voting supervisor about it.

If two departments of the same county, in the same building, can't get it straight, how could we expect 50 states to get it straight?
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