Do RVers contribute to voter fraud?

Let me be clear from the outset that I do not believe voter fraud is widespread or significant but is, instead, a ginned-up bit of right-wing hysteria in the service of He Who Shall Not Be Named (HWSNBN). That said, I find it intriguing that Mark Meadows, former White House chief of staff for HWSNBN and a staunch supporter of the “big steal” mythology, is being investigated for possible voter fraud in North Carolina.

As first reported earlier this month by The New Yorker, Meadows–a former North Carolina congressman who decamped from the state in the spring of 2020 to become HWSNBN’s aide-de-camp–registered to vote ahead of the 2020 election using the address of a mobile home in Scaly Mountain, N.C. Problem is, the owner of that mobile home claims Meadows “never spent a night down there”–in apparent violation of North Carolina election law that makes it a felony to intentionally provide false information in a voter registration.

What does that matter to RVers? For the many, many full-timers who claim a South Dakota mailbox as their legal residence because of that state’s wink-wink tax benefits, potentially quite a bit. That circle was squared yesterday by Corey Allen Heidelberger, publisher of the on-line news blog Dakota Free Press, in a post headlined: “Mark Meadows Puts RV Voters on Yellow Alert: North Carolina Voter Residency Law Similar to South Dakota’s.”

As Heidelberger observed, the Meadows case “may weigh on tens of thousands of ‘South Dakotans’ who claim voting residency at a variety of South Dakota mail-forwarding storefronts while traveling the country in recreational vehicles and living on the road.” In a point-by-point comparison of the voting residence statutes of the two states, Heidelberger demonstrated that both North Carolina and South Dakota “underscore the requirement of real, permanent residency,” which in South Dakota means voters “actually live at and have no present indication of leaving the above address”–a declaration those registering to vote must make under penalty of perjury.

“As the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled in Heinemeyer v. Heartland 2008, occasionally sleeping, dining, and getting mail at a place where one pays rent–the basis of RVers’ claim that they ‘live’ in South Dakota-are not enough to establish residency,” Heidelberger observed. The Meadows investigation therefore “could cast an unwelcome light on the tens of thousands of individuals who do not actually live in South Dakota’s mailbox-rental storefronts but have been voting in South Dakota elections.”

Although Heidelberger’s otherwise heavily sourced piece does not provide a citation for his reference to “tens of thousands” of mailbox residents, much less how many of those Lilliputians have been voting in South Dakota’s elections, he raises a fair point–one that should concern many full-timers.

Author: Andy Zipser

A former newspaper reporter who worked at a variety of newspapers, from small community weeklies to The Wall Street Journal, I finished my "normal" work life as the editor of The Guild Reporter, official publication of the union representing newspaper workers. On retiring, I and my wife bought a campground in the Shenandoah Valley and--with the help of our two daughters and their husbands--operated it for eight years, first as a KOA franchisee and then as an independent family-owned RV park. We sold the campground in May, 2021, and live in Staunton, Virginia, a short walk from our grandsons' home.

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