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Sunday, July 17, 2016

RUTGERS UNIVERSITY STUDENT ASSEMBLY (RUSA), ET AL. VS. MIDDLESEX COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS, ET AL. A-4318-14T2


RUTGERS UNIVERSITY STUDENT ASSEMBLY (RUSA), ET AL. VS. MIDDLESEX COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS, ET AL. A-4318-14T2
In this case, we address the constitutionality of N.J.S.A. 19:31-6.3(b), which requires all eligible persons to register to vote no later than twenty-one days prior to an election. Plaintiffs assert they should be permitted to register to vote on election day, and that the twenty-one-day advance registration requirement improperly infringes on their right to vote under N.J. Const. art. II, § 1, ¶ 3(a). Based upon our review of the record and applicable law, we conclude that the statute furthers the fundamental State interest in preserving the integrity of New Jersey's electoral process, while imposing no unreasonable burden upon plaintiffs' right to vote. Therefore, we conclude that N.J.S.A. 19:31-6.3(b) is constitutional.
In a concurring opinion, Judge Ostrer notes that it is the job of the Legislature to determine the mode and manner of voting, and our role is limited to reviewing the constitutionality of legislative policy judgments enacted into law. Therefore, he would find twenty-one-day advance registration constitutional without adopting the policy judgments discussed in the majority opinion that support it.