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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, October 5, 2004
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Nonresidents have every right to vote in Arizona

This letter is in response to Tim Lake's letter yesterday. Mr. Lake is mistaken. Nonresidents have every right to vote in Arizona. As clarified by Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez in a press release issued Sept. 17, 2004, the only residency requirements to register to vote in Arizona are physical presence in the state with the intent to remain during the 29 days before the election. In her press release, Ms. Rodriguez specifically encouraged all students to vote, including those who have come to Arizona from out-of-state.

In a tight presidential race such as this, it is obvious why some people want to discourage students from voting. Students have the power to determine the outcome of this race in Arizona, which will influence the election on the national scale as well since we are a swing state.

More than 30 percent of the University of Arizona's student population is out-of-state students. They will volunteer in this state, pay sales tax and probably take on part- or full-time jobs while here in Tucson. Numerous students, like myself, will decide to stay here permanently.

Out-of-state students are vital, contributing members of the Tucson community, and the actions of local

politicians will affect them. They have the right and the duty to vote in Arizona.

Sara Ransom
third year law student

Voters must live in Ariz. for 29 days prior election

Contrary to what Tim Lake claimed in his letter yesterday, the question of whether or not out-of-state students may legally register and vote has been settled.

Arizona law states that a voter must merely reside in-state 29 days before the election, and the UA Voting Rights Coalition secured an apology from F. Ann Rodriguez, the County Recorder, for the comments of Deputy Recorder Chris Roads, who claimed otherwise.

Although you wouldn't be able to tell by the statements of petty bureaucrats like Roads and people of bad faith like Lake, this matter was actually settled long ago - in 1979, by the Supreme Court, which in Symm v. United States upheld without comment a lower court's ruling affirming the right of college students to vote where they are domiciled.

Intent to remain in-state for four years, four months or four days after the election is not and never has been a criterion for residency for anyone, including students.

This flood of lies, which amounts to voter intimidation, must stop. FOX News, and possibly, Chris Roads ought to have been sued for their actions to send a clear message to private individuals like Tim Lake that such tactics will not be tolerated.

If it came down to it, I'd personally support legal action against Tim Lake, who went beyond voicing his personal offense at people like me who aren't "true Arizona residents" voting in his home state by claiming that the legal question is unresolved - a blatant lie - and that doing so "truly amounts to voter fraud."

Additionally, it was downright irresponsible of the Wildcat to print his note with the title "Nonresidents can't vote in AZ elections" on the last day of registration for the Nov. 2 election. I am not asking that an opinion be censored, as this is not a difference of opinion; Lake's statements are factually inaccurate and intimidating to new voters.

Students have a moral - and more importantly - a legal right to vote where they live and work eight months out of the year. As a citizen, an activist and a candidate, I urge you all to put Tim Lake and others in their place by exercising this right on Nov. 2.

Bennett Kalafut
physics graduate student vice President, UA ACLU president, UA libertarians

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