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One of the first things many nomads do when hitting the road is to establish their domicile. For years, South Dakota has been one of the best and most popular states for this.
Individuals receive many of the same benefits as other residents, including voting rights. However, several proposed bills recently tried to strip RVers of those rights.
What gives? Why was South Dakota trying to pick on RVers? Let’s learn more.
South Dakota Bill to End Full-Time RVers Voting Rights Fails
We can happily report the death of Senate Bill 124 and House Bill 1232. The South Dakota Senate and House State of Affairs Committees deferred the bills to the 41st legislative day, essentially killing the bills.
RVers and many other South Dakotans opposed the bills. Greg Kulesa, a manager of a Sioux Falls mail forwarding service, stated they had more than 5,200 customers, 4,000 of which vote in South Dakota elections.
Kulesa told Keloland Media Group, “The vast majority come from the RV industry. They have no residence anywhere else. They travel all across the U.S. and are looking for a place to vote.”
While Kulesa favors election integrity, the bills would have had a major impact on the many mail-forwarding services in South Dakota.
If the bills had passed, many felt it would have created work for local election officials. Many opponents felt it was unnecessary and a waste of property tax dollars from residents.
What Was Senate Bill 124?
Republican Senator Julie Frye-Mueller introduced Senate Bill 124 and was a major proponent of the legislation. The legislation would have prohibited anyone with a commercial or industrial address from voting in elections.
The bill would require election officials to compare the address listed on each new voter registration application with county tax records. This would ensure the address provided in the voter registration application is a residence. It would thus prohibit commercial or industrial addresses, an undeveloped lot, or the address of property owned by a local, state, or federal government.
The biggest target for this bill was the thousands of individuals who use mail-forwarding services in the state. Luckily, Senate Bill 124 failed.
Local officials won’t have more work on their plates, and thousands of voters won’t lose their ability to participate in elections.
What Was House Bill 1232?
District 16 Republican Representative Karla Lems sponsored House Bill 1232. This piece of legislation would aim to clarify the definition of residency.
The failed bill would define residency as “the place in which a person has fixed the person’s habitation and to which the person, whenever absent, intends to return.”
Many of the thousands of nomads who domicile in South Dakota don’t have a “fixed” location where they settle. They use mail-forwarding services and campground addresses to establish residency.
The bill targeted these individuals and said, “No person may register to vote using a business location or campground as the registration address.”
Why Do RVers Choose South Dakota for Domicile?
South Dakota has earned a reputation for being one of the most domicile-friendly states for RVers. Let’s look at a few things nomads love about the state.
No Income Tax
One of the biggest perks of becoming a resident of South Dakota is that the state doesn’t have an income tax. Individuals from California who become South Dakota residents can instantly give themselves a 14% raise. The less tax you pay, the more money you can keep in your pocket.
Unfortunately, not everyone will see the same increase since taxes vary by state. However, many will enjoy anywhere from a 5% to a 6% increase in their finances by no longer paying a state income tax.
Keep in Mind: If you’re interested in claiming South Dakota as your state of residency, here’s how to make South Dakota your home state as a Full-Time RVer
Cheap and Easy Vehicle Registrations
While some states make vehicle registrations expensive and difficult, that’s not true in South Dakota. They reveal that the other states simply make it harder than it needs to be.
Registering a vehicle here doesn’t require an inspection, and the fees are some of the lowest in the country. This makes it very easy for RVers to renew their registrations from the road without making a specific trip back to the state.
South Dakota makes it easy for RVers to love it. The state allows individuals to establish residency without a physical address.
All you need to do is stay 24 hours in the state, sign up for a mail-forwarding service, and complete a few papers to become a resident of the Mount Rushmore State. It’s seriously that easy!
After registering for a forwarding service, you can have your mail sent to you on your terms. Some services will scan your mail and allow you to choose which mail they send you. They’ll send it just about anywhere too!
Keep in Mind: This Mail Service for RVers Is the Largest, But Is It the Best? Click the link to find out!
Should You Still Domicile in South Dakota?
Thankfully, South Dakota officials voted 9-0 to kill the bill. State law requires no more than 40 legislative days in a session. By officials deferring the vote for these bills to the 41st legislative day, it essentially kills the bills and sends a message.
Republican Senator Lee Shoenbeck also told Keloland Media Group, “These bills can keep coming, but I would hope we will have the intestinal fortitude to fight this big government, more government effort to waste our property tax dollars.”
While this isn’t likely the last we’ll hear of this legal issue, it’s a good sign for the future of the voting rights of RVers. If you’re considering establishing your domicile in South Dakota, your voting rights appear safe, at least for now. Considering the vote was 9-0, we have little cause for concern.
Did you know about these proposed bills against RVer’s voting rights?