Administration & Elections Office
East Wing, Second Floor
700 W. Jefferson, #E205
Boise, ID 83702
Monday — Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
(closed Noon – 1:00 p.m.)
The advent of election day registration in Idaho and how it interacts with the concept of “voting residence” has been a source of controversy in various college towns throughout Idaho.
The crux of the student registration and voting controversy is the question of whether you, as a student, can establish a residence for voting purposes, and if so, how can this be determined by registration officials.
Idaho Constitutional (Article VI, Sec. 5) and statutory provisions (Idaho Code § 34-405) provide that no person is deemed to have gained or lost a residence for voting purposes by reason of his presence or absence while a student at any institution of learning. These provisions have the effect of treating physical presence as a neutral factor in determining voting residence and therefore other factors must be looked at.
Idaho Code § 34-107, defines residence for voting purposes:
This section in essence sets forth the concept of domicile ie. principal or primary home or place of abode of a person.
Idaho courts have held that “for a change of domicile to occur, the fact of physical presence at a dwelling place and the intention to make it a home must concur and when such domicile is established, it persists until another is legally acquired.” Kirkpatrick v. Transtector Systems 114 Id. 559.
The State Board of Education Rules Governing Residency Classification in the Idaho Administrative Code (IDAPA 08.01.04.05.08) define “domicile” as follows:
“Domicile” means an individual’s true, fixed, and permanent home and place of habitation; the place where the individual intends to remain and to which the individual expects to return when he leaves without intending to establish a new domicile elsewhere. The establishment of domicile in Idaho occurs when a person is physically present in Idaho primarily for purposes other than educational and can show satisfactory proof that such person is without a present intention to return to another state or acquire a domicile at some other place outside the state and the person has met any other applicable requirements of this chapter.
The above mentioned materials require that college students must establish, as with all other voter registration applicants, that the locale within which they seek to register and vote is their domicile i.e. that they are living in the college community with the intention of abandoning their former domicile and with the intention of remaining permanently, or for an indefinite length of time, in the new location.
Some of the factors which may be relevant in determining whether domicile has been established for voting purposes by a student as well as any other applicant, are as follows:
As a student, you should not be registering and voting in your college locale simply because you failed to register and vote at your true domicile. Registering to vote is a serious matter which should only be done after proper reflection. It should be noted that there is no federal right to vote anywhere in the United States for the office of President. State laws control registration and voting and State residency requirements must be met.
We need and want all students to vote at their legal domicile.