For Students

RESPECT MY VOTE!

Do I register at school or at home?

 

It is an extremely common question from college students. Should they register to vote at their address on campus, in a dorm, or in their college town; or, should they register in their “home town”.

 

The answer is, it depends, and often times you have a choice. We have compiled all the information on the rules by state. Check out what the rules are for your state, and get registered today!

Alabama

Alabama law states that you may register to vote in Alabama if you are “domiciled” in the state. Domicile is defined in Alabama as physically living at a particular place with the intent to remain there permanently, or for an indefinite length of time. Students who leave home to attend school are expressly allowed to register to vote using their home address. Registering to vote in Alabama creates a presumption of Alabama domicile, and the Secretary of State’s office has indicated that that should be enough to establish voting residency.

 

Alaska

Alaska defines voter residency as the place where your “habitation is fixed, and to which, whenever absent, [you have] the intention to return.” Alaska has a gain-or-loss provision for students with regards to residency, meaning a college student does not automatically gain or lose residency solely by entering or leaving the state to attend college. In Alaska, your “present intention to establish a permanent dwelling” at your school address is enough for you to establish residency. Alaska law puts considerable weight on where you choose to register to vote, and if you have the intent to remain for some period of time at your school address, you should be entitled to register and vote at that address.

 

Arizona

The Arizona elections code defines residence as “actual physical presence” plus the “intent to remain.” You should not have any trouble establishing residency at home if you attend school elsewhere. A temporary absence will not result in a loss of residence if you intend to return. Both the Office of the Secretary of State and the County Recorder of Pima County, where the main campus of the University of Arizona is located, have said that students do not need to have an intent to remain after their schooling to register in their college communities. Thus, the best reading of the law is that students who intend to remain in Arizona while they attend school and who treat their home in Arizona as their residence are entitled to register and vote as Arizona residents.

 

Arkansas

In order to have voting residency in Arkansas, your Arkansas address must be your “domicile,” meaning the fixed place where you live and where you intend to return whenever you are absent. You should not have any trouble establishing residency at home if you attend school elsewhere. If you intend to return to the place you lived before school after you graduate, you probably will not be considered a voting resident of your college community under Arkansas law. You should be able to establish residency if you have the intent to establish your domicile in Arkansas when you move there and you do not intend to move back home.

 

California

California defines voting residency as “domicile.” Domicile includes the place where your habitation is fixed and you have “the intention of remaining.” Your choice to make a place your domicile or residence is key in determining your residency for voting. The Secretary of State has made clear that students can choose between their school addresses and their parents’ homes when deciding where to register to vote. California courts and the Attorney General have also made clear that if you move residences each school year and you cannot establish a new residence in time to register to vote (you do not have housing yet, for instance), you can vote at your previous school-year address.

 

Colorado

Students attending school in Colorado should be able to register and vote at their school address if they meet the following requirements. Under Colorado law, your residence for voting is your “principal or primary home.” In practice, Colorado students can choose to register either at home or at school, depending on which one they consider their principal home. Your principal home is where you have a fixed place to stay, and the place where, whenever you are away, you intend to return. The formal test for residence in Colorado is an objective test: in considering whether your chosen address is your proper voting residence, elections officials can look to where you are employed or have other income sources or business pursuits, the residence of your family, where your things are located, or if you own any real estate. Students who lived in Colorado before attending college and wish to establish or keep their voting residency at their parents’ Colorado address should have no problem doing so, unless they have already registered to vote in another state.

 

Connecticut

Students who lived in Connecticut before moving to another state for school, and who wish to establish or keep their Connecticut voting residency, should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. To count as a resident under Connecticut law, you have to be a “bona fide resident.” While some older cases suggest that you might have to have intent to remain in Connecticut permanently, the Secretary of State’s office has said that you only need to have the “intent to remain indefinitely.” Basically, if you do not know what you are going to do or you do not have definite plans to leave the state, you should be able to establish Connecticut residency.

 

Delaware

Delaware requires that a voter be “a bona fide resident.” Delaware courts have held that residence means “domicile.” To establish a domicile, an individual must establish “physical presence” and intend to make it a “permanent home.” This includes an “actual abandonment” of the previous home by intending to live at the new home indefinitely. Students who lived in Delaware before moving to another state for school, and who wish to establish or keep their Delaware voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ Delaware address) should have no problem doing so, unless they have already registered to vote in their new state. Students who move to Delaware to attend school with the intention of making Delaware their home and with no intent of moving back to their previous place of residence should be able to establish voting residency in Delaware.

 

District of Columbia

Students who lived in D.C. before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their D.C. voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ D.C. address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Students attending school in the District of Columbia can establish residency in D.C. if their school address is their principal or primary home. Your plans after graduation won’t necessarily affect your current intention to be a D.C. resident. If you register to vote in D.C., your signed registration form creates a presumption that you’re a resident of D.C., and can only be overcome by specific evidence.] If you get a driver’s license from another state after you registered to vote in D.C., that may also be considered evidence that you do not actually intend to become a D.C. resident.

 

Florida

Students who lived in Florida prior to moving to another state for school, and who wish to establish or keep their Florida voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ address) should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. If you move to your school address in Florida, with the present intent to make it your principal home and you do not plan to move back to the place you lived before, you should be able to establish residency in Florida. While the Florida Constitution requires that you be “a permanent resident of the state, “no court decision or other law suggests that you need to have anything more than a present intent to stay at your new address.

 

Georgia

Students who lived in Georgia before moving to another state for school, and who wish to establish or keep their Georgia voting residence (i.e., at their parents’ address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. If you move to a school address in Georgia with the intent of making it your fixed home, you should be able to establish voting residency in Georgia.[5] While Georgia law does discuss making your Georgia home “permanent”[6] court cases have made clear that if you have a present intention to remain at your school address, a “floating intention… to move somewhere else at some future period” will not stop you from establishing residency. Georgia law defines voting residence as domicile.

 

Hawaii

Students who lived in Hawaii before moving to another state for school, and who wish to establish or keep their Hawaii voting residency (i.e. at the parents’ address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Students who have a present intent to make Hawaii their permanent home can establish residency in their college communities. The Secretary of State’s office has also stated that a present intent to make Hawaii your residence is sufficient to establish residency for voting purposes. Residency for voting equals domicile in Hawaii. Under Hawaiian law, your voting residence is your fixed, permanent home, the place where you intend to return after being away. To gain Hawaiian residency for elections, you must move to the state with the dual intention of abandoning your former home and establishing a permanent home in Hawaii.

 

Idaho

Idaho’s formal laws make it difficult for students to establish residency. Under Idaho law, “residence” for voting purposes is a person’s “principal or primary home.” Those who do not have plans to remain in the state indefinitely may not be able to establish residency. Your residence is your fixed place of habitation, the place where you intend to return after being away for any length of time. The law explicitly states that a voter does not establish residence in Idaho if “he comes for temporary purposes only, without the intention of making it his home but with the intention of leaving it when he has accomplished the purpose that brought him there.”

 

Illinois

Students who live in Illinois but move to another state for school, and who wish to establish or keep their Illinois voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Illinois law requires voters to be “permanent residents of” Illinois and the election district in which they want to vote for 30 days preceding an election. Illinois courts have stated that in order to be a “permanent resident,” a voter needs a “permanent abode” and intent to remain at that abode. In practice, the state elections division lets students choose whether they want to register at their previous address or at their school address.

 

Indiana

Students who lived in Indiana but moved to another state for school, and who wish to establish or keep their Indiana voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. If you move to a college address in Indiana with the intention of making it your principal home and you do not intend to move back to the place you lived previously, you can establish voting residency in Indiana. Indiana law describes voting residence as your “true, fixed, and permanent home and principal establishment”; the place to where you intend to return after being away.=The Secretary of State has said that the “permanent residence” of students “who have no intention of returning to [the address that they traveled from to attend school]” will be “the community where they are attending school.” However, “there is no rule on legal residence that applies to all college students. Each case and each individual is different.” Residency equals domicile under Indiana law, and so each voter can have only one residence.

 

Iowa

Students who lived in Iowa but moved to another state for school, and who wish to establish or keep their Iowa voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Iowa law expressly allows students who consider themselves residents of Iowa as well as another place (such as their parent’s home) to choose either location for voter registration and voting purposes.

 

Kansas

Students who lived in Kansas prior to attending school and who wish to establish or keep their Kansas voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ Kansas address) should have no problem doing so, unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Students who intend to make their school address their principal home should have no trouble establishing voting residency in Kansas.

 

Kentucky

Students who lived in Kentucky before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their Kentucky voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. To establish voting residency in Kentucky, you must intend for your school address to be your home. Your residence is where you live, the place where you intend to return whenever you are traveling. There is no requirement under Kentucky law that you intend to make your home at a place permanently or indefinitely in order to establish residence.

 

Louisiana

Students who lived in Louisiana but moved to another state for school, and who wish to establish or keep their Louisiana voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Louisiana law explicitly gives students who move to the state in order to attend school the right to register at their school address and you do not need “intent to reside indefinitely.” Or, if you are from another parish in Louisiana, you can choose to register either at your school address or your home address.

 

Maine

“Students who lived in Maine prior to attending school and who wish to establish or keep their Maine voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. If you move to a school address in Maine with the intention of making it your principal home, you should be able to establish voting residency there whether your residence is a dorm, apartment, house or even a hotel. Maine law defines residence as the place where you have a “fixed and principal home.” Maine courts have held that voting residency is equivalent to domicile.
Maine has a “gain or loss” provision which states that no voter will either gain or lose residency solely because of their presence in or absence from the state while attending school. It explicitly states that it may not be interpreted “to prevent a student at any institution of learning from qualifying as a voter” in the town “where the student resides while attending” that school.”

 

Maryland

Students who lived in Maryland prior to attending school and who wish to establish or keep their Maryland voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. In Maryland, the most important factor in determining voting residence is your intent to make a place your principal home. If you intend to make your Maryland school address your home and you do not intend to move back to wherever you lived before school, you should be able to establish Maryland voting residency—even if you do not necessarily plan on staying in Maryland after graduation. The Maryland Constitution and election code do not define residency, other than to say that you must be a resident on the day you register to vote.

 

Massachusetts

Students who lived in Massachusetts prior to attending school and who wish to establish or keep their Massachusetts voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Students can register and vote while temporarily attending college in Massachusetts as long as they currently consider this to be their principal address. To have voting residency in Massachusetts you only need to have the intent to make your school address your home for the present, without respect to your “future plans.” The Massachusetts Constitution requires that voters be “inhabitants” and the state’s laws require them to be “residents.” Both terms have been defined to mean domicile.

 

Michigan

Students who lived in Michigan prior to attending school and who wish to establish or keep their Michigan voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. The Secretary of State of Michigan has indicated that students are free to choose to register to vote at school or at home.

 

Minnesota

Students who lived in Minnesota prior to attending school and who wish to establish or keep their Minnesota voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Minnesota students who consider their school address their home are able to establish voting residency at that address. The Secretary of State has made clear that students “have a choice as to where [they] register to vote and cast [their] ballot.”

 

Mississippi

Students who lived in Mississippi prior to attending school and who wish to establish or keep their Mississippi voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ Mississippi address) should have no problem doing so, unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Students who have a bona fide intent to make their school address their home should be able to establish voting residency in Mississippi. You have to have “a bona fide, unqualified intent to make the place of occupancy or residence on the college or university campus [your] home.”

 

Missouri

Students who lived in Missouri prior to attending school and who wish to establish or keep their Missouri voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ address) should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Students from out of state may choose Missouri as their voting residence. There are no regulations governing residency; however, Missouri law has historically been interpreted as providing that college students may choose to register and vote from their pre-college address or their school address.

 

Montana

Students who lived in Montana prior to attending school and who wish to establish or keep their Montana voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. The website of the Secretary of State states plainly that students who live at school can choose whether to register at home or at school.

 

Nebraska

Students who lived in Nebraska prior to attending school and who wish to establish or keep their Nebraska voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Nebraska case law makes clear that the possibility of moving after you finish school should not matter in determining residency. Students who consider their school community their principal residence should not have a problem registering and voting.

 

Nevada

Students who lived in Nevada prior to attending school and who wish to establish or keep their Nevada voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. In Nevada, if you actually reside in the state, intend for your school address to be your home, and do not have a solid plan to move back to the place where you lived before school, you should be able to qualify as a resident for voting purposes. Nevada law has strong protections for students.

 

New Hampshire

Students who lived in New Hampshire prior to attending school and who wish to establish or keep their New Hampshire voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ address), should have no problem doing so, unless they have already registered to vote in another state. The Secretary of State of New Hampshire has specifically stated that students have the right to choose between keeping their residence at the place they lived before attending school or establishing residence in their school community. New Hampshire’s laws make clear that a student who considers herself a New Hampshire resident and has the intent to make her New Hampshire residence her home can vote in the state.

 

New Jersey

Students who lived in New Jersey before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their New Jersey voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ New Jersey address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. In New Jersey, you have the right to vote at your college address so long as you actually live there and are interested in and concerned with your college community, even if you plan to return to where you previously lived after finishing school. The New Jersey Supreme Court has expressly held that all students may vote where they choose.

 

New Mexico

Students who lived in New Mexico before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their New Mexico voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ New Mexico address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. If you spend most of your time at school in New Mexico, are involved in your school community, and intend to make it your primary residence, then you should be able to establish voting residency under New Mexico law.

 

New York

Students who lived in New York before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their New York voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ New York address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Students who consider their school address their principal home and who presently intend to remain at that address for the time being should be able to establish voting residency in New York.

 

North Carolina

Students who lived in North Carolina before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their North Carolina voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ North Carolina address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Students attending school in North Carolina should be able to register and vote at their school address if they meet the following requirements. North Carolina law clearly states that if you intend to make your school community your home during the time you are in school, and have no intent to move back to the address where you lived before attending school, you can claim your school community as your residence and use that address to register to vote. You do not have to intend to stay in North Carolina after graduation or have any definite plans, as long as you do not intend to return to your former home.

 

North Dakota

Students who lived in North Dakota before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their North Dakota voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ North Dakota address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Students attending school in North Dakota should be able to establish residency and vote at their school address if they intend to make their college towns their residence and do not intend to return back home after school. The North Dakota Constitution requires voters to be residents of the state, and North Dakota law requires that you reside in the precinct where you wish to vote for thirty days prior to the election. A voter may only have one residence, which is “an actual fixed permanent dwelling.”

 

Ohio

Students who lived in Ohio before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their Ohio voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ Ohio address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Students attending school in Ohio should be able to register and vote at their school address if they have the intent to make their school address their permanent home, Ohio law defines residency as where your home is “fixed” and where you have an “intention of returning.” A place does not become your residence unless you intend to make it your “permanent” home. The word “permanent” does not require that you plan to live in Ohio forever; it is an intention that at the time of voting, your school community is your permanent home.

 

Oklahoma

Students who lived in Oklahoma before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their Oklahoma voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ Oklahoma address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Students attending school in Oklahoma should be able to register and vote at their school address if they are a “bona fide” resident of their college town. Under Oklahoma law, the most important factor in determining whether you are a “bona fide” resident for voting purposes is your intent to leave your old home and establish a new one. If you move to school intending to make a home there and do not intend to move back to the place you came from (i.e., your parents’ home), you should be able to establish residency in Oklahoma.

 

Oregon

Students who lived in Oregon before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their Oregon voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ Oregon address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Students who attend school in Oregon may register and vote at their school address if they reside in and attend school in Oregon and have the intent to make Oregon their current home, regardless of their future plans. You do not have to intend to remain in Oregon after graduation. Your residence for voting should be your fixed home, the place you regularly come back to after being away.

 

Pennsylvania

Students who lived in Pennsylvania before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their Pennsylvania voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ Pennsylvania address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Students attending school in Pennsylvania should be able to register and vote at their school address because Pennsylvania law gives students the explicit right to register to vote in the district where they attend college. For this reason, it is highly unlikely that you would have your registration denied on the basis of residency or face a residency challenge in Pennsylvania.

 

Rhode Island

Students who lived in Rhode Island before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their Rhode Island voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ Rhode Island address), should have no problem doing so unless they are already registered to vote in another state. While the phrase “indefinite period” has been used in other states to limit the ability of students who are not sure of their plans after graduation to establish residence, the Rhode Island Board of Elections has stated that in Rhode Island, students residing in their college communities are eligible to register and vote in those communities.

 

South Carolina

Students who lived in South Carolina before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their South Carolina voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ South Carolina address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Students attending school in South Carolina should be able to register and vote at their school address if they meet the following requirements. In South Carolina, to establish voting residency in your college town, you need to have abandoned your prior home—that is, moved away without any intention of moving back, even if you visit occasionally—and you need to have the intent to make your college town your home, even if you do not intend to stay there after graduation.

 

South Dakota

Students who moved out of South Dakota to attend school elsewhere, and who intend on moving back after graduating, should not have a problem registering and voting in South Dakota. Students attending school in South Dakota should be able to register and vote at their school address if they have no current plans to move from that address.

 

Tennessee

Students who lived in Tennessee before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their Tennessee voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ Tennessee address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Students attending school in Tennessee should be able to register and vote at their school address if they intend to make that place their residence and there is some objective indication of their intent.

 

Texas

Students who lived in Texas before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their Texas voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ Texas address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Students attending school in Texas should be able to register and vote at their school address, because Texas law is clear that students who consider their school address their current fixed residence are entitled to vote there, regardless of their future plans. Still, students have historically encountered difficulties in registering in certain counties.

 

Utah

Students who lived in Utah before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their Utah voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ Utah address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Under Utah law, you are a resident for voting purposes if your principal home is in Utah and if you presently intend to stay in Utah for an indefinite amount of time. Your intention to make Utah your resident state is of key importance. Utah presumes that anyone who registers to vote in Utah is a true resident of Utah. Accordingly, if you register to vote in Utah, your registration cannot be denied on the basis of residency, and it cannot be canceled unless there is “clear and convincing” evidence that you do not currently intend to remain permanently or indefinitely in Utah.

 

Vermont

Students who lived in Vermont before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their Vermont voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ Vermont address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Students attending school in Vermont have the explicit right to choose to vote in their school communities if they are genuine residents of those communities. While Vermont law requires an intent to remain “indefinitely,” Vermont courts have made clear that students can fulfill that requirement even if they have uncertain post-college plans, so establishing residency in Vermont as a student should not be a problem.

 

Virginia

Students who lived in Virginia before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their Virginia voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ Virginia address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. It may be difficult for students attending school in Virginia to establish residency for voting purposes at their school address. The state has one of the strictest residency requirements in the country. In order to establish residency, Virginia’s constitution and election laws require that the state be both your “domicile,” meaning that you intend to reside and remain in Virginia, and your “place of abode,” meaning the physical place where you live. Virginia’s Supreme Court has interpreted these requirements to mean that you must intend to remain at your address for an “unlimited time” in order to establish voting residency.

 

Washington

Students who lived in Washington before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their Washington voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ Washington address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Washington students should be able to register and vote at their school address if they do not intend to return to the place they lived before school, and if they consider their school community to be their residence while they attend school—even if they are not clear on their post-school plans.

 

West Virginia

Students who lived in West Virginia before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their West Virginia voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ West Virginia address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Students attending school in West Virginia should be able to register and vote at their school address as long as they do not plan to move back to their parents’ house, and they intend to make it their residence, even if they do not have specific plans beyond graduation.

 

Wisconsin

Students who lived in Wisconsin before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their Wisconsin voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ Wisconsin address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Wisconsin law clearly gives students the right to register and vote where they attend school. Generally, your residence is where you currently live—your place of fixed habitation—“without any present intention to move.” Elections officials are not allowed to consider student status when determining your eligibility to vote.

 

Wyoming

Students who lived in Wyoming before moving elsewhere to attend school, and who wish to establish or keep their Wyoming voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ Wyoming address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state. Wyoming’s formal residency laws are student-friendly, and students should be able to register and vote without trouble when they have a current intention to make Wyoming their residence.