My daughter is from NJ, where her mom and I live.

She went to undergraduate school in SC, where she became a resident. She has a SC driver's license, library card, and W2 statements from 2015. She may have registered to vote there a few years ago, but I'm not sure.

Now she lives in FL where she goes to graduate school.

For purposes of voting, especially in a Presidential primary, where does she register and vote?

I know she can probably use her NJ address since she's still a student, but I think she would prefer to vote in either the SC or FL primaries, since NJ is very late in the season and almost inconsequential.

She has a SC driver's license (and possibly a voter registration card), but no longer has an address there. She had lived off-campus in an apartment she's no longer in.

She's now in an apartment in Florida, where she'll be a student through the spring of 2017. But she does not have a FL driver's license or anything else "official".

Where can she legally vote?

  • You have a choice between where you live at home and where you are at school.
    – Viktor
    Jan 23, 2016 at 3:31
  • She certainly can't vote in SC as she no longer resides there. She is probably violating some law somewhere by continuing to drive on her SC license.
    – phoog
    Jan 23, 2016 at 22:48

1 Answer 1


A person should register to vote in their state of residence. Aka the state where they claim to be a resident. Unfortunately, residency is defined by the individual states and the definitions aren't consistent. Even more unfortunate is that the state where a person is registered to vote is often used as a criteria in determining a person's state of residency. So, chicken and egg. Unfortunate on top of that is that residency requirements are different according to purpose. For example you may fit a definition of resident for the purpose of vehicle registration but not for income tax purposes.

The important thing is to be consistent. If a student claims to be a resident of her home state so she doesn't have to change her vehicle registration, she should not claim the school state in order to get out of income tax (or any such things). After consistency, be reasonable. Based on your facts, I think FL is the best bet. She lives there and intends to live there. That's also a good place to pay taxes! But there's the rub. If she tries to claim FL as her residency for income tax purposes someone might take issue with the fact that she hasn't moved her drivers license.

TLDR; plan to register where you'll live when the election happens. If anything is glaringly wrong with that plan, seek alternatives. There is nothing glaringly wrong with registering to vote in FL.

Oops, forgot to add, this document purports to summarize state laws regarding registration: http://www.eac.gov/assets/1/Documents/Federal%20Voter%20Registration_6-25-14_ENG.pdf

  • "Register where you live" seems to make sense. My daughter has no intention of making Florida her permanent home, but she'll be there until she's done with graduate school in 2017. As for driver's license, there's usually some grace period new residents have before they have to get a new one. If she was working, FL's lack of income tax would be nice. But she's full-time in school so there won't be any income. Now if I could someone earn my income there!...
    – user249493
    Jan 24, 2016 at 19:12

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