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Whelan Bill Aimed at Increasing Candidate Participation in School Board Elections Approved by Senate

Senator Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic

Legislation Would Move School Board Filing Deadline to Last Monday in July

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Jim Whelan that would change the state’s filing deadline for November school board elections in an attempt to increase the number of individuals running to serve on the boards was approved yesterday by the State Senate.

“Last year, the Legislature passed commonsense legislation that allowed school board elections to be moved to the November General Election date, ensuring that more voters participate in the process of selecting our school leaders, while saving municipalities, the state and ultimately taxpayers millions of dollars,” said Senator Whelan, D-Atlantic. “As a consequence of this change in election date, the time period between filing to run for school board and the public casting votes for an individual grew exponentially. Hopefully by moving the date to file for school board closer to the November election, we can encourage more New Jerseyans to participate in the democratic process by running for school boards to serve their communities and better the education for our kids.”

The bill, S-2086, would change the deadline for school board candidates to file petitions to the last Monday in July. Currently, candidates must file by 4 pm on the day of the primary, held in June.

A 2012 law allows for school districts to move their annual elections from the third Tuesday in April to coincide with the general election held in November. Since the law’s adoption, more than 500 school districts have moved their election dates.

The bill was approved by the Senate with a vote of 38-0. It now heads to the General Assembly for further consideration. 

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