In the Matter of the State DOE's Denial of Petition

On July 28, 2010, the ACLU-NJ, Project Vote, and the Fair Elections Legal Network filed an appeal against the New Jersey Board of Education and the Department of Education (DOE) after the state rejected a petition to implement regulations pursuant to t the 1985 High School Voter Registration Law (HVRL). Under the 1985 law, high school students at both public and private schools have the right to receive a voter registration form and related material from school officials. Despite the fact that the law clearly states that students at both public and private schools have the right to receive a voter registration form, the law was only being implemented in public schools. Studies show that school based voter registration programs have been found to be one of the most effective means of instilling lifelong voting habits.

The voting advocates argued that the law required more than more than the minimal regulations for that merely required public school administrators to "check a box" on a form to confirm compliance with the high school voting law andnothing more. TThe state also rejected he advocates' requests for regulations regarding charter school and private school students.

On April 25, 2011, the Appellate Division held that the Department of Education's "total omission of regulations covering nonpublic schools falls short of what the HVRL requires." The Board was required to adopt regulations covering the rights of non-public school students. The Appellate Division additionally noted that the agency is free to reconsider creating a comprehensive set of regulations covering both public and non-public school compliance.

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