Jonah Goldberg is not troubled in the least by creating biased standards of voter eligibilty in violaton of the fourteenth and twenty-sixth amendments to the US Constitution. It's fine with him if one disenfranchises college students because, hey, they might vote for socialists. And they might want to support the environment.
Goldberg was responding to this post by Nick Confessore at TAPPED which was itself a quick summary of this article in Rolling Stone by Damien Cave. Now Goldberg admits he didn't bother to read Cave's article, so maybe he was unaware that Cave is referring to blatant constitutional violations. Perhaps he was also unaware that in 1979 the Supreme Court summarily affirmed the decision of a three-judge District Court panel which established the right of college students to establish residency in the local college town. (For a detailed analysis of the case and a copy of the District Court injunction see this advisory opinion by Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbot.)
But forget about that pesty little thing called the US Constitution for a second. Maybe there are good reasons for disenfranchising college students. What are Goldberg's reasons? Well as noted before they might vote with the socialists, or otherwise vote for environmental friendly policies. Furthermore:
They don't care about property values, the quality of the schools, the business climate, the traditions, values, standards, prospects etc of the small town they're in -- at least not in the way residents who devote their lives and their children's upbringing do.
Yes because they might have different values or priorities than other town residents they should be disenfranchised. Oh yes and Goldberg says they are "spoiled." That's right spoiled rich kids shouldn't be able to vote. It's also okay to disenfranchise college students because they don't pay property tax. Forget for a moment that the fees the students pay for dorms are almost certainly affected by the rate of property tax. Haven't we been allowing people who don't own property to vote for awhile now? Now military bases are I believe exempt from local property taxes. Most military personnel are only stationed there for limited time periods. I wonder if Goldberg would like to disenfranchise those "tourists" as well.
As with military personnel, college students are not required to establish residency in their local towns if they do not wish to do so. Why might a college student be interested in voting where they go to school? Well, most students spend at least nine months a year at college. Even when they go elsewhere over the summer, it isn't necessarily to where their parents live. And according to this page by the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts even the average Amerian family moves once every four years. Many college students do more volunteer work in the community than the "permanent residents". Issues such as zoning ordinances, the cost of off-camups housing, crime, and public transportation greatly affect college students. Gold erg even brings an example from a reader about college students helping to remove alcohol prohibitions from a county. I know when I was in college I would have been deeply interested in whether the sale of alcohol was legal. The reader complains that they don't have to worry about the increased crime due to the new law, but I fail to see how college students are unaffected by the crime rate.
I'm curious as to what Goldberg would have had me do. I grew up just outside of St. Louis, MO. I then went to school in Houston, TX for four years, followed by five years of school in New York, NY. The last three years I have been working in a three year post-doctoral postion just outside of New Haven, CT. And at the end of the summer I will be moving again. For the past twelve years, therefore, I have always lived with the understanding I would likely only be residing in that location for a limited time. Should I have been voting these past twelve years in Missouri, to where I'm only likely to ever return for brief visits to family? Yes, at times it's a little weird. In the 1992, 1996, and 2004 presidential elections I voted in one state in the primary/caucus only to vote in another state in November. I just turned thirty, but I have now voted in the primary or caucus of four different states. So perhaps I don't share all the same values of the permanent residents of a town, but my vote should count just the same.