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Many students choose to vote in the state they attend school.  In Montgomery County, Virginia, students have been warned doing so may jeopardize financial aid.

In a press release issued over a week ago, the Montgomery County registrar issued a warning to students:

According to the press release, "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."

As noted by a representative of the Student Public Interest Group in the "Inside Higher Ed" article, "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."

Is this a concerted effort by Republicans to suppress the student vote at college campuses?  Has anyone heard of such efforts occurring in other states or at other schools?  Can they stoop any lower?

Originally posted to jillles on Wed Sep 10, 2008 at 05:08 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is a damn shame (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I still can't answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the V.P. does every day?- Sarah Palin

    by sluggahjells on Wed Sep 10, 2008 at 05:10:10 AM PDT

  •  Keep bringing this to light (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    decafdyke, malharden

    post every day if you have to .

  •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

    with Virginia being a "Commonwealth" strictly speaking Montgomery County is giving sound advise, and truthful advice. Law requires vehical change, and if you seperate from your parents declaring a seperate address, if audited the parents could lose the right to claim a student as a dependent. Facts sometimes can be harsh.

    Words escape me, but deeds are always noticed

    by utopia on Wed Sep 10, 2008 at 05:18:02 AM PDT

    •  I've been there, done this. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Being an off-campus student in no way means that your parents can't claim you as a dependent.

      The two things are not related.

      The counties are attempting to scare the students.

      (Yes, you DO have to register your vehicle with the county. But, you were supposed to do that even if you lived in a dorm. VA has personal property taxes based upon how long (months) the vehicle is garaged in a Virginia county. NOT based on the legal address of the owner.)

      "Watch what you watchin'. Fox keeps feeding us toxins. Stop sleeping, start thinking outside of the box and unplug from The Matrix doctrine." -Nas

      by malharden on Wed Sep 10, 2008 at 05:21:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry you are wrong (0+ / 0-)

        If you are a dorm student you are not obligated  to reregister your car. Dormitories are exempt per Code of Va. If you live off campus then you DO have to register your car AND you are no longer a dependent. Please check with a tax attorney they will tell you the same or a knowledgable CPA.

        Words escape me, but deeds are always noticed

        by utopia on Wed Sep 10, 2008 at 12:48:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  eh? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      was that a joke i didn't get, or did you actually, erroneously think that "commonwealths" have different legal authority than the other states?

      by decafdyke on Wed Sep 10, 2008 at 05:27:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, utopia, that's disinformation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The Internal Revenue Code contains an expressed exception for full-time college students. Parents may continue to claim their college-age kids as exemptions.  Here's the FAQ from IRS on the issue:

      If I claim my daughter as a dependent because she is a full-time college student, can she claim herself as a dependent when she files her return?

      If you claim your daughter as a dependent on your income tax return, she cannot claim herself on her income tax return.

      If an individual is filing his or her own tax return, and the individual can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's return, the individual cannot claim his or her own personal exemption. In this case, your daughter should check the box on her return indicating that someone else can claim her as a dependent.


      Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information
      Tax Topic 354, Dependents

  •  This is false, see previous diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    decafdyke, BB10

    See diary here:

    Basically, the Registrars of some VA counties are indeed trying to suppress what they'd consider to be "liberal" votes in their counties.

    But the basis for doing so is false. Please do not be confused.

    If you are a student, please continue to call Governor Kaine's office to try to get him to make a sweeping statement that gets county-level administrations to back the hell off.

    "Watch what you watchin'. Fox keeps feeding us toxins. Stop sleeping, start thinking outside of the box and unplug from The Matrix doctrine." -Nas

    by malharden on Wed Sep 10, 2008 at 05:18:43 AM PDT

    •  Your facts are wrong. (0+ / 0-)

      SCOTUS didn'e hold that college students have a right to vote @ their college address; they held that they have a right to domicile themselves at college.  If they do that, then the standard right to vote at the place of one's domicile applies.

      VA isn't challenging the right that SCOTUS affirmed; it's challenging the factual question of whether the college students are domiciled @ college.

  •  this needs to be publicized (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but in a way that makes it VERY CLEAR that the county rethugs are wrong and there are no financial aid or tax consequences associated with changing your voter registration.

    by decafdyke on Wed Sep 10, 2008 at 05:25:32 AM PDT

  •  in case it's not obvious to non-virginians (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Virginia Tech is in Montgomery County.

    by decafdyke on Wed Sep 10, 2008 at 05:29:02 AM PDT

  •  The press release is like an email forward. (0+ / 0-)

    It's close enough to being true to make it seem plausible, but still misses the point entirely.

    For example, one of the tests the IRS uses to determine if a kid is dependent is residence: being a resident @ the parents' address for more than half the year.  So voting at college cuts against dependency, but that's just one strike in a multi-factor test.

  •  Other Va counties too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Translator, malharden

    This must be some overall plan in the state of Va, to derail the election and keep Va a red state.

    They did the same thing to James Madison University students in Harrisonburg Va.

    Ok, so how do we fight back and stop them?

    •  Fight back by getting an absentee (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      burrow owl

      ballot.  You can still vote, and not even have to make a trip to the polling place.

      Warmest regards,


      I get on my knees and pray that we don't get fooled again. -6.25, -6.05

      by Translator on Wed Sep 10, 2008 at 06:13:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We need to get Tim Kaine to move. (0+ / 0-)

      You can email his office directly and rally support for your cause at

      "Watch what you watchin'. Fox keeps feeding us toxins. Stop sleeping, start thinking outside of the box and unplug from The Matrix doctrine." -Nas

      by malharden on Wed Sep 10, 2008 at 11:08:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The same thing happened over (0+ / 0-)

    20 years ago in Tulsa, OK when Oral Roberts directed his students to register to vote in Tulsa for a pet project of his.

    Boom, financial aid went away, parents' tax exemptions went away, medical insurance went away, and even car registration and insurance went away.

    Be very careful of where you claim as your legal residence.

    Warmest regards,


    I get on my knees and pray that we don't get fooled again. -6.25, -6.05

    by Translator on Wed Sep 10, 2008 at 06:10:15 AM PDT

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