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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Full-time RVers Voting Rights Denied in TN

This year more than ever, American citizens are jazzed to vote – regardless of party or candidate choice. In 2000 a suit was brought against full-time RVers with a Texas domicile claiming that since they did not “reside” in the state they were ineligible to vote. As you may or may not know, Livingston, Texas is home to the largest full-time RVing club in the country – Escapees – and offers an excellent mail-forwarding service – providing a legal address to the thousands of full-timing members. A federal judge sided with over 9,000 RVers upholding their right to vote, thank goodness.

In 2006 the 286 full-timing folks in Bradley County, Tennessee were bumped from the voter rolls. The disenfranchised Americans brought a lawsuit against the county that was dismissed by US District Judge Curtis L. Collier this last February. Apparently the county is delighted to collect licensing (drivers and vehicle) fees, taxes and other government dues and happy that full-timers hard earned money goes to local insurance agents, mail forwarding services and financial institutions but nope, that’s not good enough to participate in our democracy.

According to TN state election officials, residency means more than a mailbox. I’d wager that these full-timers pay their fair share in government fees (and by the county accepting them acknowledging the full-time lifestyle) but minimally tax the services that their fees go towards including roads and maintenance. When in town they purchase products - financial and other - from local businesses, patronize local campgrounds, shop at the local Walmart and are in general excellent, low-maintenance citizens. They hold Tennessee documentation such as driver’s licenses and motor vehicle tags – maybe even library cards and church memberships. Chances are that most of them are retirees that gave the majority of their lives contributing to growing the US economy, were upstanding citizens that raised strong families (that now contribute to the US economy), and may have even fought overseas for our freedoms.

Personally, I think this is an outrage. Every bonafide American should have the right to vote – no matter where or how they choose to live. This just doesn’t seem right to me – how about you??

Leave a comment below…I’d love to hear your take on this issue.

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