Can out-of-state college students vote in Vermont? Not necessarily.

By Rob Roper

Every year about this time people start asking how it is that college students who are not from here get to have disproportionate impacts on local elections. Are they really allowed to vote in our elections? Shouldn’t they be voting in their home towns in other states, or even in their home towns in Vermont? According to the law, it depends.

Rob Roper

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Vermont law defines a resident eligible to vote as: “A natural person who is domiciled in the State as evidenced by an intent to maintain a principal dwelling place in the State indefinitely and to return there when temporarily absent, coupled with an act or acts consistent with that intent.”

College students are natural persons, and they are considered legally domiciled in the state – they sleep here more than six months of the year — which could allow them to vote in Vermont. But the students must also show evidence of “an intent to maintain a principal dwelling place in the state indefinitely,” which means that they must show in some demonstrable way that they do not intend to leave Vermont after graduation. Vermont election officials do not enforce this aspect of the law.

If the student does not intend, and/or cannot provide evidence of that intent, to remain in Vermont “indefinitely,” he or she would fall under the category described in the law of being “temporarily absent” from their principal domicile, such as their parents’ home out-of-state. “Acts consistent with this intent” would be things like returning home for vacations when school is not in session. If this is the case, the student should not be allowed on a Vermont voter list and should be voting back home, not here.

Although we would certainly like young people who come to Vermont for their higher education to stay here indefinitely, we know for a fact that the overwhelming majority of them don’t stay, nor do they intend to. A recent study by UVM discovered that 70 percent of Vermont college students either actively intend to leave Vermont after graduation (40 percent) or have no intention whatsoever (30 percent) about remaining. Only 30 percent of students have some or a likely intention to stay. As such, merely attending college in Vermont should not be seen as evidence of intent to remain indefinitely.

What would be evidence of intent to remain? Maybe getting a Vermont drivers license, opening a Vermont based bank account, or remaining and working in Vermont during summer vacations. But, again, Vermont election officials from the secretary of state on down do not enforce this aspect of election law. Why? You’ll have to ask them.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Jared C. Benedict/CC BY-SA 2.0 and Rob Roper

8 thoughts on “Can out-of-state college students vote in Vermont? Not necessarily.

  1. Vermont law pertaining to driving and motor vehicles provides: “You must obtain a Vermont Driver License upon establishing residency in this state. This must be done no longer than 60 days after moving to Vermont or, if your out-of-state license expires before the end of this 60-day period, you must obtain a Vermont Driver License before it expires (whichever occurs first).”

    Similarly, it says: “You must obtain a Vermont vehicle registration upon establishing residency in this state. This must be done no longer than 60 days after moving to Vermont or if your out-of-state vehicle registration expires before the end of this 60-day period you must obtain a Vermont vehicle registration before it expires (whichever occurs first).”

    Looking around Burlington it appears that the majority of our of out of state students keep their out of state vehicle registrations. That makes a strong argument against their having VT resident status, otherwise they would have obtained their VT documentation. Or, are they just scofflaws cheating the state from needed revenue?

    The question is how many of those who keep their out of state plates do vote in VT ‘s local elections? And since they show their allegiance to their home state are they voting by absentee ballot at home too, perhaps also in national elections?

    Undoubtedly, some of these out of state students keeping their out of state plates do consider themselves VT residents and should either pay their DMV fees and get VT driver’s licenses and registrations for their vehicles, and vote in local elections if registered, or retain their out of state status as non residents and not vote locally. They can’t have it both ways. Randy Brock’s work towards identifying these “one man multiple vote” fraudsters needs support!

  2. The gyrations and contortions of the law perpetrated by acutely partisan democrats like Condos are monumental. The lengths they will go to for power are limitless, and they are unconcerned with how obvious it is to thinking people, because they know their voters don’t think. The beauty of being a far-left activist like Condos is you can behave as badly as you like and still think you’re the good guy.

  3. Looks like Vermont has psychic voter requirements. Who knows if a student is going to stay in your state. The best thing to do is not to allow anyone from outside the state to vote period. Where is the common sense?

  4. So just read this article: A recent study by UVM discovered that (70) percent of Vermont college
    students either actively intend to leave Vermont after graduation (40 percent) or have no intention whatsoever (30 percent) about remaining.

    But Our Progressive DemocRATs see the extra votes available if you let college vote even though
    they have no intention of staying in VT, but our elected officials let them vote on things that affect
    taxpaying Vermonter’s way of life ……Shameful!

    Now you understand why Sec Condos states, Vermont voting is above board with no issues !!

    Wake up Vermont

  5. I believe that is how Sanders got elected the first time by getting the Burlington collages railed and registered for my son among them and out voted the resident Burlington to win the mayors race that year. That’s you Bernie he’ll do or say any thing to get elected it’s better then working.

  6. “the students must also show evidence of “an intent to maintain a principal dwelling place in the state indefinitely,” which means that they must show in some demonstrable way that they do not intend to leave Vermont after graduation. Vermont election officials do not enforce this aspect of the law.”

    Why the elected position of secretary of state candidate H. Brooke Paige,incumbent Jim Condos is proven to not take this seriously.

  7. If they can vote they should be able to also obtain instate tuition. That will put the nail in the coffin, why have two different rules? If students can show intent to maintain a principal dwelling place in the State they deserve in state tuition rates.

    Because it serves the Progs and Dems to have them voting for them (most young kids/adults) tend to vote for dems and progs because they haven’t actually starting making real money yet and pay taxes. They want more free stuff to allow them more money to party with.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *