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Senate Bills 666, 667 Could Impact College Voters

By Paul T. Choate

April 10, 2013. Two bills filed last week in the N.C. Senate could have a major impact on where college students in the state register and vote. This could dramatically affect elections in places like Watauga County that have a high concentration of college students.

Senate Bills 666 and 667, co-sponsored by Sen. Dan Soucek along with primary sponsors Sen. Bill Cook, Sen. Norman W. Sanderson and Sen. Ronald J. Rabin, include language that would bar parents from claiming children in college as dependents on their taxes if they registered to vote at their college address.

Based on the 1979 United States Supreme Court case of Symm vs. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that college students have the right to vote at their college address.  

“If the voter is a dependent of the voter’s parent or legal guardian, is 18 years of age or older, and the voter has registered at an address other than that of the parent or legal guardian, the parent or legal guardian will not be allowed to claim the voter as a dependent for State income tax purposes,” says Senate Bill 667.

Typically, per child, each parent can get a personal exemption of between $2,000 and $2,500 for dependent children.

With more than one-third of Watauga County’s population being made up of students enrolled at Appalachian State University, if Senate Bills 666 and 667 passed it could have a tremendous impact on the election trends here and in other counties around the state where university students make up a large part of the population.

As of present, the bills have been referenced to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate.

To read or track the progress of the bills, visit ncleg.net and search “S666” and “S667.”