Officials in charge of voter registration in Virginia seem to be asking for Federal investigation… According to this press release from this extremely important battleground state, students are being told that they risk losing their scholarship and tax dependency status if they register to vote in their college, as opposed to home, state. And surprise, it appears all these warnings are bogus and have one impact and one impact only: to suppress voter turnout among college-aged people, who are overwhelmingly supporting Obama this year. Memo to Virginia: that’s illegal.
Last week, Virginia’s Montgomery County, home to Virginia Tech, issued a press release regarding proper protocol for college students registering to vote. In interviews with Inside Higher Ed Tuesday, it was described by turns as “unsubstantiated,” “chilling,” and (more generously) as not “incredibly encouraging or friendly.”
It reads, in part: “The Code of Virginia states that a student must declare a legal residence in order to register. A legal residence can be either a student’s permanent address from home or their current college residence. By making Montgomery County your permanent residence, you have declared your independence from your parents and can no longer be claimed as a dependent on their income tax filings — check with your tax professional. If you have a scholarship attached to your former residence, you could lose this funding. And, if you change your registration to Montgomery County, Virginia Code requires you to change your driver’s license and car registration to your present address within 30 days.”
Sujatha Jahagirdar, program director for the Student Public Interest Research Group’s nonpartisan New Voters Project….[said] “For a county registrar to issue what really are in our experience unsubstantiated warnings for a particular demographic is alarming,” … “It’s upsetting that this is coming up in Virginia. But it’s even more upsetting that the ability of young people to vote is questioned in many other states too.”
She added: “In 25 years of registering young voters around the country, none of the staff has ever heard of a single incident where a student has lost their tax status or their scholarship because of where they’ve registered to vote.”
I wonder why Montgomery County election officials would lie about the ramifications of registering to vote? Does anyone else smell a lawsuit?
Crooks and Liars » Virginia county issues “chilling” voter registration report