A Federal Baseline for the Right to Vote


A number of states have laws that define domicile for purposes of voting in terms that would disenfranchise state residents who do not plan to remain in the state permanently, or even indefinitely. This paper argues that such laws are preempted by the federal constitutional concept of state citizenship, which is informed by the traditional definition of domicile set forth in the Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws. Under that definition, all United States citizens with a physical presence in a state and an intention to make the state their home for the time at least are citizens of the state. The essay seeks to demonstrate that the right to vote in a state belongs to every citizen who satisfies this test, and that the states lack the power to adopt any narrower definition of domicile for voting purposes.

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Columbia Law Review Sidebar

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Abstract available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=1923980