ACLU Helps Full-Timers Retain Voting Rights

Full-time RV residents with ties to the state of Tennessee will be
allowed to vote in the November presidential election, thanks to an
agreement reached between the Tennessee chapter of the ACLU and Bradley
County Election Commission.

As reported in the July issue of MotorHome (“Castaways:
Full-Time RVers in Tennessee Fight for Their Right to Vote”), Ron and
Leone Teel and Tom Layton, who live full-time in their RVs, were among
more than 250 full-time RVers who were purged from Tennessee voting
rolls in 2006 based on a change in Tennessee law that prohibited people
from using a commercial address to register to vote.

“We are delighted that this novel issue was resolved in time
for our clients to vote in this historic election,” said Tricia
Herzfeld, ACLU-TN staff attorney, who represented the RVers. “It is
important that people be allowed to exercise their rights to vote and to
travel, without repercussions to either. ACLU-TN is committed to
ensuring the right to vote for all citizens regardless of their
lifestyle choices.”

In November 2007, the ACLU-TN filed a lawsuit in federal court,
arguing that the 2006 law violated RVers equal protection and due
process rights. The court dismissed the case but acknowledged
alternative ways for the Teels and Layton to restore their right to vote
while maintaining their right to travel and their autonomy to choose
where they live.

After discussions with ACLU-TN, the Bradley County Election
Commission agreed that the National Voter Registration Act allows the
Teels and Layton to use the address of the parking lot of a mail
forwarding service to register to vote.

“At no time did we think that our choice to live and travel in
an RV would require us to give up our right to vote. Because of the help
of ACLU-TN, we can now vote in November and have our voices heard in
this election,” said Ron Teel.

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