NJ-04: Zeitz Campaign Challenges Smith Voter Registration

The Zeitz for Congress campaign today requested that the Mercer County Superintendent of Elections investigate Chris Smith's voter registration, and revoke it if she discovers fraud.

The Facts:

1) Smith filed for, and received, in-state tuition rates for his children attending Virginia public colleges.

  1. In Virginia, dependent students are assigned the residency of their parents for determining tuition rates.
  2. Virginia code requires the parents to have "abandoned any previous domicile," in New Jersey in order to receive the $80,000 tuition breaks.
  3. Chris Smith claims he was legally entitled to these benefits reserved for Virginians, but won't produce the documentation to confirm his claim.

More after the jump.

                                                           

"In the best case scenario, Smith is cheating taxpayers by receiving $80,000 worth of in-state tuition breaks to an out-of-state university," said Zeitz Campaign Manager Steve D'Amico. "The alternative scenario, of course, is that he has domiciled in Virginia and is eligible for in-state tuition at UVA, but that would mean he has "abandoned" New Jersey and has no legal right to vote in New Jersey or represent its citizens in Congress. Our request to the Superintendent is aimed at discovering the truth."

A full copy of the Zeitz Campaign request follows:

October 22, 2008

Bettye Monroe

Mercer County Superintendent of Elections, Commissioner of Registration

Dear Superintendent Monroe:

We are writing regarding Chris Smith, candidate for Congress in New Jersey's Fourth Congressional District and registered voter in Hamilton. We are concerned that Congressman Smith filed a fraudulent voter registration application. In that registration, we believe Smith falsely claimed that he is a New Jersey resident.  

During each of the last few years, Smith filed an application for in-state educational privileges for his children at the University of Virginia (UVA).   UVA, a school supported by the Commonwealth of Virginia, provides in-state tuition benefits only to those who claim Virginia as their domicile. (See attached excerpt from Office of Undergraduate Admissions)   Under Virginia law, "domicile is a technical, legal concept that refers to the present, fixed, home of an individual to which he or she returns following temporary absences and at which he or she intends to remain indefinitely - one's permanent and lasting home." Id.

Additionally, Virginia code requires that a "dependent student or unemancipated minor must establish by clear and convincing evidence that for a period of least one year immediately prior to the date of alleged entitlement, the parent or legal guardian through whom the student claims eligibility was domiciled in Virginia and had abandoned any previous domicile." Id.

We request an explanation of how Chris Smith may vote in New Jersey after having "abandoned" New Jersey as a domicile.   Smith's voluntary application for Virginia in-state educational benefits demonstrates his choice that Virginia, not New Jersey, is his domicile. Smith cannot be a registered voter in New Jersey and a Virginia domicile at the same time, particularly as Virginia requires that its domiciles "intend to remain indefinitely." Smith cannot tell Virginia that he intends to remain in Virginia indefinitely while simultaneously claiming that he is domiciled in New Jersey.   Since no one compelled Smith to apply for in-state educational benefits, his voluntary act of filing the in-state tuition application clearly signals that he has chosen to be a Virginia resident.

For these reasons, we respectfully request that you revoke Smith's registration. Given the timing of the election, we request that you rule on this request immediately.

Sincerely,                                                          

ZEITZ FOR CONGRESS

Tags: Chris Smith, Josh Zeitz, new jersey, NJ-04, UVA, Virginia (all tags)

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