NAICU Washington Update

Time to Order State Voter Registration Forms

The 1998 Higher Education Act (HEA) requires all postsecondary institutions to make a good-faith effort to distribute state voter registration forms to each degree- or certificate-seeking student who attends classes on campus. The forms must be distributed prior to the registration cut-off date for federal, gubernatorial, and special elections for federal office. Although the November 4 general election is months away, for most institutions it's time to request those forms from their state elections offices, and to develop plans for distributing them to students.

Colleges must request state voter registration forms 120 days prior to their state's voter registration deadline, making June the last month for most colleges to request the forms from the state. Some of our members must request their state forms as early as June 6. For the specific deadline for your state, go to the state map on the Your Vote, Your Voice Web site.

Once you've filed your request for forms, the state has to respond at least 60 days prior to the registration deadline. If you don't receive the forms in this time frame, your institution will be held harmless for compliance with the HEA requirement. Only those states with same-day registration are exempt from distributing voter registration forms to students.

If you have any other questions, please visit our new Your Vote, Your Voice Web site. There you will find an electronic version of The National Campus Voter Registration Project Organizing Handbook that contains details on the HEA requirement, and provides models for distribution of the forms. Please contact your state board of elections for specific procedures.

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