Dutchess Elections Board To Register Students

May 21, 2013

Credit wikipedia commons

POUGHKEEPSIE – College students in Dutchess County may now vote so long as they register and need not provide specific information about which dormitory they live.

Last fall, Republican Elections Commissioner Erik Haight refused to register students if they did not list their specific college address. Democrat Commissioner Frances Knapp challenged that in court and the judge ruled they could vote.

The initial case involved student registrations from Marist, The Culinary Institute of America and Bard College.

Now, US District Court Judge Kenneth Karas has issued a permanent consent decree allowing college students to register and vote in Dutchess without having to list their specific address.

That decree, signed by both elections commissioners, permanently enjoins the Board of Elections from rejecting an application for voter registration solely based on the fact that a student does not include a specific dorm name and room number on the application.

The attorney fees for both sides in the case totaled $58,000.  Knapp said the county legislature will now have to come up with the money to cover the expense.