Analysis – Confusion over the voter’s residence and domicile | News

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Del Norte County Clerk and Registrar Alissia Northrup said she verifies voter registrants’ residency and that a candidate “lives in the district they are running for at the time they return their papers.” .

When former Sheriff Randy Waltz registered to vote on February 8 using the address 16855 Highway 101, Smith River, Northrup verified that he had already been registered to vote in Del Norte County at an address of different county, Northrup said. She would not divulge the previous address.

Waltz submitted his declaration of candidacy for the office of sheriff on February 14 and paid the filing fee of $1,048.47. However, “he withdrew his application and did not submit the rest of the documents,” Northrup said. Documents not submitted included other nomination documents and signatures, as well as a statement attesting to his professional qualifications to hold the position of sheriff, required under section 24004.3 of the Government Code.

Northrup noted that a voter can have multiple residences. Some local voters have residences in other counties, and even in other states, she said. They could live in Arizona for six months of the year before moving back to Del Norte County. “You have to choose where your home is.”

Section 349 of the California Election Code defines residence and domicile as follows:

(a) “Residence” for voting purposes means a person’s domicile.

(b) A person’s domicile is the place where his dwelling is fixed, where he intends to stay and where, whenever he is absent, he intends to return. At any given time, a person can only have one domicile.

(c) A person’s residence is the place where the person’s dwelling is fixed for a certain period of time, but where he does not intend to stay. At any given time, a person may have more than one residence.

Northrup pointed out that the law does not specify how long a person must reside in a home. Presumably, someone can register to vote from a residence the same day they move in.

“Nothing says I have to check how long they lived there,” Northrup said. “I just registered to vote. If I had to physically confirm every registration, I would never accomplish anything.

When Waltz was nominated by the Board of Supervisors after Erik Apperson resigned, Northrup checked Waltz’s voter registration to determine that he was already registered “here in Del Norte County.” Not at the Smith River address; before the Smith River speech.

The issues that come to mind are:

1. Was Randy Waltz a registered Del Norte County voter when he was appointed to the office of sheriff? Yes, according to Registrar Alissia Northrup.

2. Is there anything that would prevent Waltz from moving to another residence in Del Norte County that he intends to occupy as his home after making the decision to run for sheriff during the June primaries? No, there is no “duration of domicile” requirement, according to Northrup.

3. What is the effect of leaving one domicile before another domicile has been established?

This third question may have been answered by the California Supreme Court in Walters v. Reed (1988) 45 Cal.3d 1. The court was asked to determine “whether voters who leave their homes with no intention of returning lose their right to vote in their former homes even though they have not yet established new homes.

The court determined, “In light of the principle that everyone should have a domicile somewhere, we conclude that these individuals retain their right to vote within the confines of their former domicile.”

As applied to the Waltz controversy, even though there are some blemishes regarding Waltz establishing a new home, he would still be considered a Del Norte County voter under his old county address. by Del Norte.

And as a voter with the required professional qualifications, he would be eligible to seek and hold the office of sheriff.

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