Residence Hopping: Protecting the Principle of One Person, One Vote, One Place

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Appalachian Journal of Law


There are 7.5 million second homes in the U.S. – more than half are in states with significant electoral ramifications: Florida, California, New York, Texas, Michigan, North Carolina, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Yet, election laws in these states have manipulable definitions of “residence.” Redundant definition provides owners of multiple homes with a choice unavailable to everyone else—where to vote.

This article discusses the possibility of “residence hopping”—owners of multiple homes strategically choosing residences to vote in the jurisdiction where they vote will have the greatest impact on local, state, and federal elections. Political entities are aware of this possibility, and are already providing guidance to this small, but growing, part of the electorate. After outlining the troubling trend, this article advocates for the principle of “one person, one place, one vote” by detailing possible reforms to reduce the odds and impact of “residence hopping.”

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