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Statement of Encouragement
It is the stated intent of BYU-Idaho to encourage good citizenship of all students, faculty, staff and administrators by becoming involved in the election process in the area which each individual declares as their permanent home. Inasmuch as many students who attend BYU-Idaho are not Idaho residents we encourage them to register to vote in their home city, county or state and vote in those elections by absentee ballot while attending BYU-Idaho.
Participation in the election process in America is a constitutional right granted to everyone over 18 years of age. This provides every person with the opportunity to voice their choice in electing persons to office and helping to set the direction of our government. Individual involvement in the process allows us to exercise our franchise to vote and in so doing demonstrates our interest in accepting our responsibility as good citizens.
1998 Higher Education Act
The 1998 Higher Education Act requires 'all post-secondary institutions to make a good-faith effort to distribute voter registration forms to each degree- or certificate-seeking student who attends classes on campus.' The forms, which are supplied by each state, must be distributed before the registration cut-off date for every federal and gubernatorial election, as well as special elections for federal office.
Title IV - Student Assistance, Part G - General Provisions
489. Program Participation Agreements
b) PROVISION OF VOTER REGISTRATION FORMS
(1) PROGRAM PARTICIPATION REQUIREMENT- Section 487(a) (20 U.S.C. 1094(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
(23)(A) The institution, if located in a State to which section 4(b) of the National Voter Registration Act (42 U.S.C. 1973gg-2(b)) does not apply, will make a good faith effort to distribute a mail voter registration form, requested and received from the State, to each student enrolled in a degree or certificate program and physically in attendance at the institution, and to make such forms widely available to students at the institution.
(B) The institution shall request the forms from the State 120 days prior to the deadline for registering to vote within the State. If an institution has not received a sufficient quantity of forms to fulfill this section from the State within 60 days prior to the deadline for registering to vote in the State, the institution shall not be held liable for not meeting the requirements of this section during that election year.
(C) This paragraph shall apply to elections as defined in section 301(1) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431(1)), and includes the election for Governor or other chief executive within such State).'.
(2) REGULATION PROHIBITED- No officer of the executive branch is authorized to instruct the institution in the manner in which the amendment made by this subsection is carried out.
Idaho Voter Qualifications
Idaho is exempt from the National Voter Registration Act because they have same day registration at the polls on all election dates. Current voter qualifications for Idaho are as follows:
- A citizen of the United States.
- At least 18 years of age on election day.
- A resident in the state and in the county for 30 days prior to election day.
- Registered as required by law.
The following information was provided BYU-Idaho by the Madison County Clerk and the Idaho Secretary of State to provide students with relevant information in regards to their Idaho voting rights should they choose to register to vote in Idaho.
The Idaho Constitution (Article VI, Sec. 5) and statutory provisions (34-405 I.C.) provide that no person is deemed to have gained or lost a residence for voting purposes by reason of his presence or absence while a student at any institution of learning. These provisions have the effect of treating physical presence as a neutral factor in determining voting residence and therefore other factors must be looked at. Section 34-107, Idaho Code, defines residence for voting purposes.
Definition of Domicile
This section of the Idaho Statutes establishes the concept of domicile i.e.; principal or primary home or place of abode of a person. Idaho courts have held that "for a change of domicile to occur, the fact of physical presence at a dwelling place and the intention to make it a home must concur and when such domicile is established, it persists until another is legally acquired." Kirkpatrick v. Transtector Systems 114 Id.559
The rules of the state Board of Education (IDAVA 08.01.04.005.08) define domicile as follows:
Domicile: means an individual's true, fixed, and permanent home and place of habitation; the place where the individual intends to remain and to which the individual expects to return when he leaves without intending to establish a new domicile elsewhere. The establishment of domicile in Idaho occurs when a person is physically present in Idaho primarily for the purposes other than educational and can show satisfactory proof that such person is without a present intention to return to another state or acquire a domicile at some other place outside the state and the person has met any other applicable requirements of this chapter.
Factors Which Determine Domicile
College students must establish, as with all other voter registration applicants, that the locale within which they seek to register to vote is their domicile i.e., that they are living in the college community with the intention of abandoning their former domicile and with the intention of remaining permanently or for an indefinite length of time in the new location.
Some of the factors which may be relevant in determining whether domicile has been established for voting purposes by a student as well as any other applicant are as follows:
- Has the applicant registered to vote elsewhere?
- If married, where does his/her spouse reside?
- Where does the applicant keep his personal property
- Does the applicant have any community ties to the locale he claims as his domicile i.e., membership in a church, social or service club etc?
- Where does the applicant maintain his checking and savings account, if any?
- Where does the applicant pay taxes and what address did he/she list as their residence on their last income tax return?
- What is the residence listed on the applicant's drivers license?
- If the applicant owns an automobile where is it registered?
- If the applicant is employed where is his job located?
- Does the applicant live year around at their claimed domicile or do they divide it elsewhere? If it is divided, how much time is spent elsewhere and for what reason?
- What residence does the applicant list on his selective service registration, hunting and/or fishing license, insurance policies, or other official papers and documents which required a statement of residence or address."As citizens we have the privilege and duty of electing office holders and influencing public policy. Participation in the political process affects our communities and nation today and in the future. Latter-day Saints as citizens are to seek out and then uphold leaders who will act with integrity and are wise, good, and honest. Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in various political parties."
Therefore, in this election year, we urge you to register to vote, to study the issues and candidates carefully and prayerfully, and then to vote for and actively support those you believe will most nearly carry out your ideas of good government."
- The First Presidency 2008
It is our duty as US citizens and as members of the LDS church to vote according to our individual views. Election day is coming up fast and students need to register now to vote. There are many different voting options available, for instance in the state of Idaho you can register to vote on Election Day with a student ID card. However most states require pre-registration, especially if you are planning to vote via absentee ballots. The state links below send you to your home state's voter registration information.
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