Arizona Republican Says College Kids Make Elections Unfair – Unveils Despicable Plan To Stop Them

It’s an old story: A demographic won’t vote Republican, so Republicans find ways to prevent said demographic from voting instead of figuring out what they can do to get that group to vote for them. An Arizona Republican is once again engaging in this nonsense by claiming that college students unfairly influence elections because they register to vote where they go to school, and not where their permanent addresses are.

Bob Thorpe’s claim is that the votes of college students “dilute the votes of full-time residents” in local elections. Thorpe represents Flagstaff, which is home to Northern Arizona University. Republicans had a difficult time holding their seats in that particular district. What Thorpe wants to do is prohibit students from using their dorms or other college addresses from registering to vote.

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Thorpe tried to spin his voter suppression tactic into something positive with this absolutely transparent lie:

“[This proposal will ]address several problems with voting in Arizona’s college communities while ensuring that voting rights are preserved for all Arizona voters.”

Preserving voter rights for all Arizonans. Ha!

There’s a problem beyond the obvious one of voter suppression: Thorpe makes no mention of other part-time residents who flee colder states to reside in Arizona for six months out of the year. One bloc of part-time residents is okay, another is not. While snowbirds might maintain two permanent addresses—one in one state and one in Arizona—Thorpe doesn’t seem to have a problem with them “diluting votes” of permanent residents.

“Snowbirds,” as they’re called, tend to vote Republican, and they tend to vote against things like budget overrides for the educational system, since they don’t want to pay for an education system that doesn’t include their children.

College students, on the other hand, tend to vote Democratic and education budget questions (along with everything else educational) affect them directly. Both Tucson and Tempe—home to the University of Arizona and Arizona State University respectively—are heavily Democratic. Flagstaff leans red but could go either way.

So Thorpe, like other Republicans who would rather cheat that change their policy positions, decided that the problem is the college students not voting where they ought to be. He wants to make it so they have to register with their permanent addresses, and then get their ballots mailed to their college addresses.

That kind of thing could discourage them from voting, in addition to preventing them from voting for people and things that directly affect them while they’re in school. It’s time for Republicans to figure out why they aren’t reaching certain demographics and stop trying to force those demographics out of the electorate.


Featured image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images