Lawmaker Wants to Ban Students From Using Dorm Addresses for Voter Registration

voter registration documents

By Jessica Swarner

February 19, 2020

The bill would likely affect far more Democrats than Republicans.

Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, has introduced a bill that would bar anyone from using a temporary address, including university dorm rooms, to register to vote in Arizona.

HB 2461 would apply to anyone planning to register with an address in which they don’t “intend to reside for twelve months of each year.” This would include people who only spend the winter in the state, as well as seasonal laborers. But, according to The Arizona Republic, dorm addresses are Thorpe’s main concern.

The Republic’s analysis of voter registration records found the legislation would affect twice as many Democrats as Republicans when it comes to students. More than 2,300 voters are registered with addresses from Arizona State University dorms in Phoenix and Tempe. While many are registered as independents, Democrats still outnumber Republicans two to one. 

For those living at the University of Arizona dorms, the gap was even wider. More than half of students registered with the U of A dorm addresses were Democrats, while only 17% were Republicans. The analysis did not include a breakdown of students’ parties at Northern Arizona University, but noted that about 1,800 students in Thorpe’s district are registered to vote using addresses of NAU dorms.

Alex Gulotta, state director for the advocacy group All Voting Is Local, argued the bill intentionally affects one group more than the other. 

“It’s a way to keep young people from voting because some people don’t like the way young people vote,” Gulotta told the Republic. 

Thorpe said his proposal isn’t about changing election outcomes. Instead, he considers it a way to make sure the people voting in Arizona are truly invested in their communities. 

“Local businesses feel like their votes are really being canceled out,” he told the newspaper.

The bill has been assigned to the House Elections and Rules Committees but has not yet been assigned a date to be discussed by lawmakers.


  • Jessica Swarner

    Jessica Swarner is the community editor for The Copper Courier. She is an ASU alumna and previously worked at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix.



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