NH Should Follow UNH Non-Resident Tuition Rules – for Voting Purposes

by Steve MacDonald

UNH Campus

Need language for an election law bill? The UNH Registrars office already wrote it.

The new Legislature is looking at election law again so now is as good a time as any to revisit something I’ve suggested before when it comes to figuring out who can and can’t or should or should not be voting in New Hampshire.

Here it is, plain and simple.

To qualify for In-State tuition status a student [or his/her parents if a dependent] must physically reside in New Hampshire for no less than twelve continuous months prior to the term for which In-state status is desired, must reside in New Hampshire for some purpose other than attending the University, and meet all the other requirements of the tuition rules.

You have to live here for 12 continuous months and must reside for some purpose other than attending the University.

If it’s good enough for UNH, it’s good enough for election law.

Here’s another excellent idea.

The University System should make a concerted effort to educate all non-resident tuition-paying students on how to obtain, complete, and mail in a timely fashion, an absentee ballot to their respective states.

Just think of all the polar bears you’ll save by getting kids to vote with a postage stamp and a walk to a mailbox instead of herding them on to diesel-powered school buses that run back and forth to New Hampshire polling places–polluting our fragile biosphere–all day long.

UNH will have not just played a larger part in “saving the planet” but helped to preserve the students right to vote in the town, city, county, or state from whence the non-resident status is defined by the college for billing purposes.

It’s a win-win!

Republicans will win a lot more seats up and down the ticket. Democrats will have something new to make them hysterical.

And everyone will have had their right to vote preserved. Yes, they will! Six Democrat NH House Reps Ellen Read, Patricia Higgins, Janice Schmidt, Lee Oxenham, Charlotte DiLorenzo, Steven Rand (several of whom benefit from non-resident voting) have sponsored a bill (LSR 017-0386) that would allow all voters to vote by absentee ballot.

If all voters can vote by absentee ballot, all non-resident tuition-paying college students can vote by absentee ballot in the state that’s not New Hampshire that defines why UNH can charge them so much more than if they lived here.

Right?

Or should UNH change their non-resident tuition guidelines to match the existing residence/domicile rules for voting in the state? That would mean that if a student feels like they live here on the day their tuition is due, they get to pay in-state residence rates.

I’d even vote for that. So would every non-resident tuition paying UNH student that is told they can vote here.

I think that might be a cruel irony.

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