Establishing Domicile and Voter Registration

By Shawn R. Loring, Esq #76442; CM #13

Full-time RVers often wrestle with establishing and maintaining domicile in a given state. Although there is no one definition of domicile that is universally accepted by all states, or even amongst various bodies of law, domicile has often been defined as the place to which one “intends” to permanently return. Intent is often difficult to establish, and courts are empowered to consider a wide range of factors when determining intent.

Although several of the factors above might be tricky to establish, registering to vote only presents one hurdle that is easy to surpass. The act of registering to vote in Texas is simplistic: visit the Secretary of State’s Website at www.votetexas.gov/register-to-vote, download the application, fill it out and mail it to your local county voter registrar. However, registering to vote may not be enough to establish domicile. It is important, not only because of civic duty, to actually vote in that state to establish domicile.

Although the intent of this article is to in no way endorse any one political party over another, it is incredibly valuable for anyone interested in establishing domicile in Texas to go to the polls in November and vote. Escapees that are domiciled outside of Polk County, Texas, should research the candidates and initiatives in this year’s ballot and vote, particularly in their desired state of domicile. 

For those Escapees domiciled in Polk County, Texas, the list1 of federal, state and local offices up for election in November have been listed below. Because the Texas judicial system can be confounding, descriptions of the local offices have been included to help explain a candidate’s platform in the context of the duties of the elected office.

Federal Offices
• United States Senator
• United States Congressman (Polk County is in the 36th district)

State Offices
• Governor
• Lieutenant Governor
• Attorney General
• Comptroller
• State Land Commissioner
• State Agriculture Commissioner
• State Railroad Commission (the Railroad Commission regulates, amongst other industries, the oil and gas industry in Texas)
• State House of Representatives
• State Senator

Local Offices
• District Attorney (Represents the state in criminal cases that will be heard within the district.)²
• District Clerk (Maintains the records of the district court, including judgments; administers child support payments and trust accounts for minors; keeps an accounting of all funds collected by the district court, including fines and fees.)³
• District Judge (Potentially hears all felony criminal cases, divorce cases, cases involving title to land, election contest cases, civil matters in which the amount of money involved is $200 or more, and any matter that cannot be heard in another court within the district.)
• County Judge (May hear more serious misdemeanor criminal cases and some civil cases like family law cases, probate cases and marriages. In addition, the county judge serves as the administrative head of the county government presiding over the commissioners court, which has budgetary and administrative authority over county government operations. These administrative functions include, but are not limited to, civil defense and disaster relief, alcohol license applications and juvenile work permits.)
• County Court-at-Law Judge (The legislature created county courts-at-law to aid county courts by enabling its judges to hear civil cases that involve divorces and probate.)
• County Clerk (Administers all county and state elections and serves as clerk, maintaining the records of the court for all misdemeanor county, criminal and civil courts; administers child support payments and trust accounts for minors; keeps an accounting of all funds collected by the county court, including fines and fees. In addition, the clerk is the custodian of all county records including birth, death, cattle brands, hospital liens, deeds, including deeds of trust, liens, Certificates of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and a variety of other important records both public and nonpublic. The county clerk also issues and maintains marriage licenses and records assumed-name certificates.)
• Justice of the Peace (Hears misdemeanor cases punishable by fine only and civil cases in which the amount in controversy does not exceed $10,000. In addition, the justice of the peace may issue search/arrest warrants and may conduct preliminary hearings, administer oaths and perform marriages.)
• County Treasurer (The chief custodian of all county funds, who must receive all money received by the county from any source and must disburse county funds as directed by the commissioners court.)

For those who will not be in their state and county of domicile at the time of the election, vote by absentee ballot. However, these ballots must be filled out and submitted before the actual election takes place.

Although voting alone is not sufficient to establish domicile, voter registration, and subsequent voting, is a fairly simple yet significant way to help establish domicile in a particular state.

Whether you vote because it is your civic duty or because it will aid you in establishing domicile in a county within a state, I urge you to exercise your freedom and simply vote. 

Generations Financial Services, LLC/SagePoint Financial, Inc. branch 14584: 111 Pearl Thomas Road, Livingston, TX 77351. Securities and investment advisory services offered through SagePoint Financial, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Tax and insurance services offered through Generations Financial Services, LLC, which is not affiliated with SagePoint Financial, Inc. Legal services offered through Loring & Associates, PLLC, which in not affiliated with SagePoint, Inc. Although this information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, it cannot be guaranteed. This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax, legal or investment planning advice. Individual situations can vary; therefore, the information presented here should only be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.

One Response to “Establishing Domicile and Voter Registration

  • Donna Hudgens
    5 years ago

    Here is help! Voting information for every state! Take advantage of it, Check if your registered, early voting, absentee ballots. Hope this helps to see how easy it can be! http://www.Vote.org

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