Advocates of open voter registration rights for full-time RVers came up with little more than a handful of air in Congress’ efforts to prevent a repeat of the 2000 election debacle.
The question of full-timers voting rights arose in Livingston, Texas, the headquarters of the 30,000-member Escapees RV Club. A Polk County commission candidate challenged the right of 9,000 Escapees members to vote absentee. All were registered to vote in Livingston and received mail there.
The challenge was unsuccessful. But a court ruling did not clarify what rights full-timers have, and the Texas legislature refused to clarify the situation. The U.S. Congress did little better.
“We know nothing in the federal bill that addresses the full-timers problem,” said Sue Bray, president of The Good Sam Club, a subsidiary of Affinity Group Inc., publisher of RV Business.
The federal reform law, the result of the 2000 presidential election snafu in Florida and overseas absentee balloting, provides millions of dollars to the states to buy new voting equipment, better train poll workers and improve registration lists.
The single straw that RVers have to hold on to is that Congress also approved creating the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), which can commission studies and make recommendations for changes in the law that it deems appropriate.
“There is a door open,” Bray said. “The other thing is that the EAC can make recommendation on military voting issues, which includes the right of the military to choose their own residences. This could be made applicable to full-timers.”