Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Property rights voting

I'm not altogether sure what I think of an obscure provision of the voting law in Franklin, Tennessee that allows people who live outside of town, but who own physical property within its borders, to vote. On the one hand, this notion makes sense-if you own property in a city or county, you should have a say in its electoral process because you have to pay taxes on that property to the city and county where the property is located. If you are using that property for a business, you are paying local taxes in a variety of ways, and through your vote you should be able to have some say in the matter.

On the other hand, in a place like Knoxville or Knox County, it could lead to an inadvertant number of outsiders influencing the process, especially in an election such as this year's. I am all for expanded political rights for property owners, but I am not sure in which direction to expand them.

It would seem that the idea is becoming wildly popular, as the General Assembly will take up whether to change the State's basic law on cities to allow for greater property rights voting. I haven't made up my mind, but I do think the concept behind it is very interesting indeed.


At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 12:46:00 PM, Blogger Steve Mule said...

Mr. Oatney,
I think that "Absentee Landlord" voting is a terrible idea for just the reason you cite: " could lead to an inadvertant number of outsiders influencing the process..." This whole thing reeks of "Landed Gentry" thinking. My feeling is if you want to vote somewhere then live there!


At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 2:35:00 PM, Blogger Susan said...

Scary. I've seen situations where city council members actually live outside of a city but can serve because they own property within the city. This happened in Nevada in several small towns. Voting is such a critical issue, anyway, and reauthorization of the voting rights act must occur if our votes are to have any legitimacy.

At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 3:34:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Well, if you are paying property taxes in a place, it stands to reasons that you have a right to some say in how that money is spent. If such people are not allowed to vote, perhaps they should be exempt from the property tax rolls.

At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 7:00:00 PM, Blogger Steve Mule said...

Mr. Oatney,
No, if you want to vote there then live there. Property owners will always have a say - they can contact the applicable government officials to address their concerns. Failing that they can sell.
Using your logic the Chinese Government should have a vote in here in America. Check out how much of the US debt they own.


At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 7:02:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

All you've done here is make an extremely good argument about why we should do much less business with China, which I happened to blog about last week.

At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 8:56:00 PM, Blogger Steve Mule said...

Mr. Oatney,
I remember that blog posting and I agree with you. However, that does not negate my point. Should foreigners that own assets here in the USA be allowed to vote in our elections? Clearly they are effected by our election results. So ... ?



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