It’s pretty hard not to take notice of the fact that it’s election season. For full-time RVers, this is a signal that it’s once again time to make the arrangements to vote! But how does voting work when you’re full- time RVing and always on the move? Let's take a look at your available options and how to best go about voting in elections while full-time RVing!
Establishing a Domicile
One of the many benefits of full-time RVing is being able to pick the state you want to ‘reside’ in. In making this choice, you’ll need to contemplate a variety of factors, including income tax, insurance, and convenience. Some of the stand-out states for a full-time RV domicile include:
- South Dakota
Picking A Legal Address
Your legal domicile address is the address you’ll use when registering to vote. Unfortunately, you can not use a PO box or a U.S. post office as your primary address. What you can do is this:
Use the address of a family member or friend in your domicile state - Just make sure it is someone you trust to handle your mail, and that their housing situation is reliable and secure. Remember, if they move, technically so have you, and managing the paperwork to deal with this from a distance can be a headache!
Use the address of your mail forwarding service - While there might be some laughable red tape associated with this route, like needing to have your physical address specifically in the parking lot of the servicing company while retaining their permission to ‘live’ on the property, it is one of the easiest ways to acquire a legal address reliably.
Getting An Absentee Ballot
Unless you’re planning on camping out in your domicile state during the election season, you’ll need to make the proper arrangements to get an absentee ballot. An absent voter ballot application for your domicile state can be found online, making it accessible from any location with an Internet connection. Simply print out the form, complete it, and send it in to the clerk’s office by the date specified. Upon approval, you will be mailed an absentee ballot.
Receiving Your Mail
Because you’re not in one place for very long when full-time RVing, you’ll most likely need to connect with a mail forwarding service to manage your postal correspondences as you travel. If you use a mail forwarding company as your physical address for voting, you already have a service in place to get your absentee ballot. If you use the address of a friend or relative, have them forward the envelope to the campground, RV park, or location you’re currently parked at. Be sure to give the staff in the camp office a heads up that you are expecting mail.
As a technologically-enhanced alternative, you can also find companies, like Earth Class Mail, that allow you to view unopened mail so that you can direct them to either shred it, store it, deposit its contents (if it’s a check), or open it and scan it so they can send it to you as a PDF by email! The fees for these services are minimal, although you will need to fill out some forms and notarize some documents to grant permission for them to open your mail.
After all the legwork is done for voting in elections while full-time RVing, all you’ll have to do is kick back in your rig, wait for your absentee ballot to arrive, and ponder your political views! What have you found to be the easiest way to manage voting while living life on the go? Let us know in the comments!