So … if you regularly read Granite Grok, which I encourage you to do, you know the New Hampshire Attorney General recently rejected a request by the New Hampshire GOP to opine that college students who returned to their actual homes and are “remote learning” in New Hampshire are NOT eligible to vote in the upcoming election:
The problem with the Attorney General’s reasoning is that the students’ absence proves that they were never domiciled in New Hampshire in the first place.
Let’s take a look at the statue:
654:1 Voter; Office Holder. –
I. Every inhabitant of the state, having a single established domicile for voting purposes, being a citizen of the United States, of the age provided for in Article 11 of Part First of the Constitution of New Hampshire, shall have a right at any meeting or election, to vote in the town, ward, or unincorporated place in which he or she is domiciled. An inhabitant’s domicile for voting purposes is that one place where a person, more than any other place, has established a physical presence and manifests an intent to maintain a single continuous presence for domestic, social, and civil purposes relevant to participating in democratic self-government. A person has the right to change domicile at any time, however a mere intention to change domicile in the future does not, of itself, terminate an established domicile before the person actually moves.
I-a. A student of any institution of learning may lawfully claim domicile for voting purposes in the New Hampshire town or city in which he or she lives while attending such institution of learning if such student’s claim of domicile otherwise meets the requirements of RSA 654:1, I.
So … domicile is “that one place where a person, more than any other place, has established a physical presence and manifests an intent to maintain a single continuous presence for domestic, social, and civil purposes relating to participating in domestic self-government.” In other words, in order to be domiciled in New Hampshire, you must have made New Hampshire your permanent home.
According to the Attorney General’s response, the students in question are temporarily absent from New Hampshire because of COVID. But these students are no safer from COVID outside of New Hampshire than inside New Hampshire because New Hampshire has been one of the States least impacted by COVID. Indeed, the idea that a student at Dartmouth moved back to New York City or Los Angeles to be safer from COVID is ludicrous.
Neither Sununu’s lockdown, nor any COVID-restrictions imposed by the various colleges involved, required the students in question to leave the State.
These students could have remained in New Hampshire … AND THEY WOULD HAVE REMAINED in New Hampshire if New Hampshire were actually their permanent homes, “that one place where a person, more than any other place, has established a physical presence and manifests an intent to maintain a single continuous presence for domestic, social, and civil purposes relating to participating in domestic self-government.”
That the students in question chose to leave the State shows that they were never actually legitimately domiciled in New Hampshire.
So the real question we are faced with is not whether the students in question retained their status as domiciles. It is whether they were previously qualified to have that status. And their own actions in leaving the State demonstrate that they were never domiciled in New Hampshire.
In sum, the students in question are ineligible to vote in New Hampshire because they have never met the requirements to be domiciled in New Hampshire.