Man without an address

A few years ago, Art Cooke and his wife, Rita, sold their Carson City home, purchased an RV and decided to wander through this great land of ours.

But they still consider Nevada their home.

“All my vehicles have a Nevada license,” Mr. Cooke told the Nevada Appeal by telephone while on an excursion in Arizona. “I file my income tax in Nevada. I have a small business in Nevada. My driver’s license is issued by Nevada.”

But when Mr. Cooke inquired about voting in the upcoming election, he was told he was out of luck. “You have to maintain a residence in the state of Nevada to vote here,” said Matt Griffin, elections deputy for the secretary of state’s office.

The one exception to the law applies only to presidential elections.

The law is obviously intended to combat fraud by preventing out-of-state residents from voting in state elections. In addition, Mr. Griffin pointed out, without an actual street address, it would be difficult to determine in which races Mr. Cooke and his wife were eligible to vote.

“I’m a citizen of the U.S. but I’m not a citizen of any state, I guess,” Mr. Cooke said. “It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

It is doubtful that authors of the statute intended to disenfranchise people such as Mr. Cooke. The law is no doubt ripe for constitutional challenge.

But if Mr. Cooke doesn’t want to go that route, Nevada lawmakers next session should revisit this issue to ensure that people in a similar predicament aren’t denied their right to vote.


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