Texas S.B. 1111 Election Code Changes

As of September 1, 2021, changes to the Texas Election code were instituted under Texas S.B. 1111. There are two notable changes we’d like to point out. First, the new law modifies how a voter’s “residence” is defined in the Election Code. Second, the new law empowers county registrars to send voter confirmation notices to any voter whose residence address does not correspond with where they actually reside.

We all know how difficult it is for those of us who live the unconventional lifestyle of a full-time RVer, to parallel the limited definitions established for those who live in a house that never moves. And, while it is understandable that lawmakers seek to eradicate fraud, they cannot strip away our constitutional rights and should not severely hobble our travels.

Many full-time RVers consider Rainbow’s End their only home. Beyond enjoying the 175-acre community, complete with an Assisted Living facility should they need it in the future, they have established their domicile at this location. These same people register their vehicles, obtain their driver’s license, utilize the doctors and hospital, maintain their bank accounts, and are known to assist with volunteer projects like Habitat for Humanity, raise funds for the local fire department, donate blood and so much more! What they aren’t willing to do is give up their right to move freely from state to state (per the 14th Amendment) or give up their right to vote. We understand that perfectly and can assure you that we will do everything within our power to protect those rights.

Some members have asked us how to fill out a confirmation notice should it be sent to them. Please understand that we cannot legally advise you, nor are we privy to your particular circumstances. However, we will do our best to explain the form to you in case you receive one.

Notice to Confirm Voter Registration Address by Providing Documentation

Much of the form is straightforward. The areas that are most confusing for those who use their PMB/Rainbow’s End address as their domicile and residence are pointed out below:

  • You will be asked to list your residence address. If you don’t own property at Rainbow’s end (or elsewhere in the county) on line (3) you would write:  Rainbow’s End – [your street and PMB#]. Your mailing address on line (4) would simply be your PMB address.
Example: This is a sample for those who use their PMB /Rainbow’s End as their domicile and legal residence.

  • You will need to carefully read the sworn affirmation section at the bottom of the form. Some of the language is convoluted and confusing for a full-time RVer:
    • Affirmation (a) In this code, “residence” means domicile, that is one’s home and fixed place of habitation to which one intends to return to after any temporary absence.” 

Chances are you have already recorded your “Affidavit of Domicile” when you became a resident of Polk County. If so, this affirmation is basically the same. (Note: If you need legal assistance or help with estate planning, we recommend our Commercial PartnerEast Texas Legal, PLLC.)

    • Affirmation (d) states, “A person does not acquire a residence in a place to which the person has come for temporary purposes only and without the intention of making that place the person’s home.”

Again, if this is your domicile, you’ve affirmed that you have the intent to make this your home even though you may continually travel.

    • Affirmation (f) states, “A person may not establish a residence at any place the person has not inhabited. A person may not designate a previous residence as home and fixed place of habitation unless the person inhabits the place at the time of designation and intends to remain.”

This is probably most confusing for a full-time RVer, especially if they happen to be, for example, on a caravan viewing the fall colors in Vermont when a confirmation notice arrives in their mail. No one should be required to return to Polk County just to prove they are inhabiting a site at Rainbow’s End at this very moment. Once again this defers back to your intent.

  • In addition to this signed and dated form, you will need to provide documentation. A list of approved documents is included on the backside of the form. The piece of ID they prefer is a photocopy of your driver’s license.

It’s important to note that if you should receive a voter confirmation notice, you have 30 days to respond. If you do not receive your mail on a regular basis, you may want to increase your mail-forwarding instructions or upgrade to the scanning service, so you can check incoming mail daily.

We will add other pertinent information should the need arise and keep members posted as we move forward into 2022.