We are entering the home stretch of the political season and for full-timers who may not be in their home state, how can they ensure eligibility to vote. Americans assume that they have a constitutional right to vote. After all, the founding fathers shaped America's legal structure to ensure everyone's voice could be heard. However, the "right to vote" is actually a privilege, not a constitutional right and it is granted by the individual states to most American citizens but not all.
Selecting a Home Base can be a very complicated proposition.
What do we mean by Home Base? In the United States you can be a U.S. citizen but you also have to be a citizen of one state. The state in which you establish "domicile" is your Home Base. Legal domicile is different from "residency".
However, since full-timers "live" all over, the states then look to other "contacts" such as where you work, where you own property, where your vehicles are registered, where you are registered to vote, where you have your driver's license, and where you have your will.
Voting can be viewed as a daunting task and not a fundamental right so the act of voting is not easy for some. To embrace your civic duty, you need to establish a domicile. In order to establish a domicile, an individual has to be physically present in a place and he or she must have the intention to continue residence in the place for an unlimited period.
Thus, two essential factors required to establish a domicile are:
- Residence along with physical presence; and
- An intention to continue there permanently or for an unlimited period of time.
To decide if a person has intentions to take a place as his/her domicile, the conduct of the person and the surrounding circumstances are taken into consideration.
If the two main elements required for establishing domicile exists, duration of the residence will not be an essential factor in establishing domicile. Even a short period is sufficient if there exists an intention to reside. Temporary absences have no effect on the status of domicile. Duration of residence is relevant only where it is required under state law.
A domicile once established continues until it is replaced by a new domicile.
|make sure you talk to your neighboring full-timer about voting|
Where do most Full-Timers Live?
After doing some serious searching on the Internet, we discovered the 3 top-ranking states, as far as the general population of full-time RVers are:
Texas came out on top mostly due to the Escapees RV Club which is headquartered in Livingston, TX. They have better than 15,000 members who declare Texas as home. The Escapees even go so far as to have a Become a Texan Manual on the Internet that gives you all the information you need to establish your domicile in Texas. They can even do your mail forwarding for you.
#2 South Dakota
South Dakota is popular among full-time travelers because it boasts no inheritance tax, no property tax, and no vehicle inspections
According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, over 8 million U.S. households own RVs and travel an average of 4,500 miles annually. Many Florida RV parks have responded to the trend of permanent RV living by offering special long-term rates to full-timers.
|South Dakota RVers can make up to 11% of the vote|
The Impact of Non-Residents on states
The advantage to states and communities of having lots of non-resident residents is that they receive many thousands of dollars of sales taxes, insurance premiums and registration fees that wouldn't otherwise come their way. The presence of mail forwarding companies also creates jobs in these states that wouldn't otherwise exist.
At the same time, this non-resident residency impacts the local politics of the cities and towns where the biggest mail forwarding companies do business because of the huge number of absentee voters. These voters may vote like each other — full-time RVers have a lot in common with each other — but they don't necessarily vote like the other residents of their adopted hometowns.
Where Do Fulltime RVers Vote?
Next to your social security number and drivers license, the most required piece of information that all levels of authority and government officials want is your physical address. Giving up your physical home in no way takes away your government representation – you still get to vote! Your legal domicile address now serves as your address to register to vote if you choose to. Of course, you likely won't be showing up in person, so you'll need to make arrangements in advance to get registered and get an absentee ballot in plenty of time for any elections you want to participate in.
RV Voters' Rights
If you are like many RVers, traveling away from your state of domicile, you will need to get an understanding of the procedures for absentee voting. There are hard deadlines that you must observe if your circumstances warrant voting absentee. At a minimum, state governments reserve the power to set guidelines for absentee voting to promote the efficient administration of their elections. You need to know the procedures in your state and county if you want your county officials to count your vote. (To get an absentee ballot, visit Vote.org at www.vote.org/absentee-ballot.)
Which Are The Best RV Mail Forwarding Services?
There are many of things to consider when choosing a permanent (legal) address that you will use while traveling full-time in an RV.
Once you decide on the state that's best for you, you need to pick an RV mail forwarding service to handle all of the correspondence you receive while you're traveling.
Following are some of the most popular mail forwarding companies that cater to RVers.
RV Mail Forwarding Companies*
- Earth Class Mail – out of several states
- Mail Call Mail Forwarding – out of California
- Escapees RV Club Mail Service – out of Texas
- Your Best Address Mail Forwarding – out of South Dakota
- USA 2 Me – out of Texas
- Good Sam Club Mail Service – out of Florida
- America's Mailbox – out of South Dakota
- Voyagers Mail Forwarding Service – out of Florida
- U.S. Global Mail – out of Texas
- My Dakota Address – out of South Dakota
*Mail forwarding companies act as both a legal address for use on driver's license, federal & local taxes, vehicle registration, voting, insurance and more.
The most important detail around this time of year is to make sure that all the necessary items are taken care of so you can ensure that you will be able to vote and your vote will count. Laws may vary from state to state and if you will not be in the state that you are a domiciled resident of, then it is important to make sure that you are eligible to vote so that you can cast your ballot.
You can trust our knowledgeable crew members who are available to assist you with your RV buying and RV service needs. Our RV dealerships are stocked with new RVs from the top name and rated brands, complemented by high-quality pre-owned RVs. With a vast inventory of models and floor plans, La Mesa RV has an RV for every lifestyle!
Stop by one of our locations for more sales info, parts or service today: http://lamesarv.com/locations-motorhome-dealer
Here are some great resources to help stay up to date on voting: