The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, Rutgers School of Law-Newark Constitutional Litigation Clinic and New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Law Center filed a lawsuit on April 19, 2011 against the Middlesex County Board of Elections on behalf of Rutgers students, Middlesex County residents, the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey and New Jersey Citizen Action calling for Election Day registration of voters to remove unnecessary obstacles to citizens exercising their right to vote.
New Jersey law requires 30 days of residence to qualify as an eligible voter. In order to verify voters' identities, the state also required voters to submit their registration applications at least 21 days before an election. However, new electronic databases New Jersey implemented in accordance with the Help America Vote Act now allow rapid verification of eligibility, obviating the earlier rationale for the three-week cutoff.
The suit cites experiences from several eligible New Jersey voters in Middlesex County who were unable to vote because they could not prove their eligibility. One voter in 2009 could not find her name on the rolls but was denied a provisional ballot, which would have registered her for the next election. In 2010, she discovered she could not vote in that election because she submitted her registration within three weeks of Election Day. Another voter who had planned to vote in Mercer County, where she was registered, tried to vote in Middlesex County when an injury made it difficult for her to travel, but her attempt was rejected.
- Middlesex BOE: Complaint (62 KB pdf)
- Middlesex BOE: Superior Court, Appellate Divison Opinion (129 KB pdf)