NAICU Washington Update

Coming Soon: Voter Registration Deadlines in States with Gubernatorial/Special Elections

September 02, 2009

Two states - New Jersey and Virginia - will hold gubernatorial elections this fall.  Two others - California and Massachusetts - will hold special elections to fill open congressional seats.  All will take place on this coming November 3, except for Massachusetts, which will hold its special election on January 19 to fill the Senate seat vacated by the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Federal law requires that - in "off-years" such as 2009 - colleges and universities in states with gubernatorial or special federal elections make a good-faith effort to distribute state voter registration forms to each degree-seeking or certificate-seeking student who attends classes on campus.  (In even-numbered federal election years, this would apply to virtually all states.)

While distribution of printed forms used to be required, the Higher Education Opportunity Act, passed a year ago, now makes it acceptable to use electronic notification.  However, the e-mailed message has to include either the state's voter registration form or a Web link for downloading the form, and the message has to be devoted exclusively to voter registration.

Here are voter registration deadlines and links to the election Web sites for the four states:

California (10/19):
Massachusetts (12/30):
New Jersey (10/13):

Useful election resources are available on the "Your Vote, Your Voice" Web site developed by NAICU on behalf of 50 Washington higher education associations.

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