NAICU Washington Update

New Jersey and Virginia Head to the Polls in November

May 03, 2009

If you have spent anytime in New Jersey or Virginia, you are keenly aware of the on-going gubernatorial campaigns.  Federal law requires colleges and universities in these states make a good-faith effort to distribute state voter registration forms to each degree-seeking or certificate-seeking student who attends classes on campus.  The provision, part of the 1998 Higher Education Act, applies to both federal and gubernatorial elections.

In the past, schools had to request paper state voter registration forms 120 days prior to the registration deadline, then deliver the forms to students in time for them to register.  This is no longer the case.  Fortunately, this is one process Congress made easier in the recent Higher Education Act legislation.

When the HEA was reauthorized last August, a new provision clarified that e-mail messages with links to state forms satisfy the mandate, as long as the messages are devoted exclusively to voter registration. (More information is available on NAICU's HEA 101 Web site.)

Colleges in these two states may want to have their student activities or registrar's office (or whatever campus office handles voter registration) e-mail all students the link to the state form this fall.  Please allow enough time for students to complete and return their forms to the state prior to the registration deadline.  More information is available on the New Jersey and Virginia voter Web sites.


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