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February 16, 2005




Maybe the Bush Administration will next tackle "frivilous lawsuit" reform for rightwing hacks whose sole goal is apparently to be a pain in the ass.

Daniel K.

Shark has wasted his time, our time, his reader's time, and now wants to waste Dean Logan's time.


TJ, excellent deflation of the hot air balloon that is (un)Sound Politics.


Daniel, John, perhaps you should wait until the hearing on Friday is completed before declaring it a waste of time. Or do you folks consider all attempts to clean voter rolls or to even investigate suspicious voters a waste of time? Is so, then why do we have have such a process? Why even have any sort of voter registrations laws at all if it can all be left up to the "Honor System"?

Daniel K.

Jason, if you honestly believe that Shark is not grandstanding you are entitled to that opinion. For him to be perceived as credulous he needs to first develop credibility, but he has not, so I don't see any reason to give him the benefit of the doubt here.


I have to agree with Jason, in the end. Since Stefan offers no reason why he thinks his case should prevail, and isn't clear as to whether he accepts the explanation of Sosin being covered under the SCRA, I can't unequivocally say he's wasting anyone's time. I'm not going to give him any more credit than that, but I'm satisfied to wait until after the hearing to comment on the merit of his case. It's entirely possible there's something I'm missing, but his status in the PHC would seem to allow him to vote in WA indefinitely as long as he's under assignment by Uncle Sam.

Thanks for the comments, everyone!



I don't think it's grandstanding, because if he really has no credibility as you claim, then grandstanding certainly wouldn't help, nor would bringing a challenge that he was sure would fail. If that were the case, then I'd agree with you that this is a waste of time. However it pretty clear that Stefan has some additional information that he was waiting to release at the hearing. I think it would be wise to withhold judgement until all information is on the table. Otherwise, as I said before, if you are going to pre-judge without looking at all the available data, what is the point of having any registration laws and processes for challenges at all?

TorridJoe, thanks for being sensible enough to not pass judgement until after the hearing. I agree, there could be a perfectly reasonable and legal reason why Dr. Sosin is voting in this state more than a decade after he left it. I voted in Oregon from 1987 through 1999 even though I lived in Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Georgia, and Germany while I was serving in the Army, so I have first hand knowledge of situations like this. However during that time I also maintained other ties to Oregon, such as a valid driver's license and a permenant mailing address. As far as I know, Dr. Sosin has no such long term ties to Washington, other than that he received an advanced degree here. Hopefully, this is what the hearing will show, that either he does have ties to this state that entitle him to vote here, or that he doesn't. My suspicsion is that Stefan wouldn't put his credibility on the line if he wasn't sure that Dr. Sosin either shouldn't be voting here, or is perhaps also voting somewhere else, and should therefore be scrubbed from someone's roles.


Jason, thanks. My reading of the Servicemember's Act is that it doesn't matter what ties he has or doesn't have to Washington, if he was a resident there when he got assigned elsewhere, he can't lose his WA registration because of it, no matter how long he's gone and what else he does (as long as he's still on assignment). Fed trumps state.


I know when my in-laws were in NOAA and went to Virginia, they wanted to be registered in Washington. Why? Because in Virginia there is an income tax.

I don't know about Georgia.

Does that mean if I work for the EPA and have a fancy title and have to move or lose my job, does the same apply?

Or how about an international company in the private sector?

I think the intent is for normal servicemen in the service for the four to six year service committment, so they don't have to change residency so often.

As a blogger today pointed out, maybe all they should be allowed to vote on is for president.



I think these are the pertinent sections:


Residency for voting purposes presents a situation which is analogous to the multiple taxation problem. In the taxation situation, States may attempt to treat the servicemember who is physically present in the State like other residents who pay state taxes. However, in the voting situation, a problem arises when States try to treat the servicemember in a manner different from other residents who are temporarily absent from the State. In both instances, the servicemember's presence is in accordance with military orders. However, receipt of military orders to report to a new locale does not result in the servicemember obtaining a new domicile. That is, the servicemember's intent to return to and remain indefinitely in the state in which he or she has a permanent home, however that home is established, is not altered merely as a result of military orders. Thus, if this legislation is enacted, such orders would not result in a new residency for voting purposes, just as they do not result in a new residency for state taxation purposes.

A servicemember's physical move may raise the question of residence. If the servicemember, upon arrival at a new locale, takes actions which are generally considered in the determination of residency and domicile, such as registering to vote, obtaining automobile insurance and registration, opening a bank account, filing state income tax returns, or making a determination that the new locale will be his or her new permanent home, then, depending on the action taken and the state residency criteria, the residence of the servicemember for voting or other purposes may be ripe for determination. But a transfer pursuant to military orders, ipso facto, may not result in a change of residence for voting purposes.

So being in the military and on orders to be somewhere other than you home state can guarantee you voting rights in your home state, as long as you do not make overt attempts to take residency in your new state. That's what I was getting at about maintaining ties to your home state.


Did you happen to read the applicable law I linked to, swatter? NOAA and PHS personnel are included. It's not about being a federal employee, it's specifically for servicemembers, of which they are considered.

The intent is for anybody in the position of working for the federal government as a qualifying servicemember, to not have to change residency just because they were assigned elsewhere.


Jason, I'm not sure you have the relevant statute. It's not even clear from your link that the bill was passed. What you have is a House Committee report from 1997. The statutes I'm referring to were enacted in 2003.

Look up "Servicemembers Civil Relief Act." Or alternatively, you can click on the links I provided in the article. :)



I'm not questioning the applicability of the law to Dr. Sosin, I believe it does apply to him. I'm just saying that it doesn't provide blanket coverage, and the applicability of the law to him is not in and of itself a reason to blindly accept his right to vote in our state, when clearly he has taken actions that lend themselves toward establishing residency in another state, such as the purchase of residential property. At the same time, purchasing property in another state doesn't automatically strip him of his right to vote here either. That's why I think this is a perfect case for a hearing :-)


In case you folks missed it, here is Stefan's report of the hearing today. Apparently the good Doctor never was a resident of this state, and never made any overt acts to establish residency other than to register to vote. All the while making many overt acts to maintain his residency in Georgia. Mr. Logan is supposed to making a ruling in a few days.


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