Voter registration will now be part of transition planning for students with disabilities. Under the new law, educators will need to discuss the process of voter registration with every student over the age of seventeen who receives special education or has a section 504 plan.
This bi-partisan voting rights bill was recently signed into law by Governor Sununu and will be in effect when students and their teams return to school this Fall.
Representative Mark Paige (D-Exeter), the bill’s prime sponsor stated, “By helping students with disabilities register to vote, we ensure they leave public schools with an essential tool to be engaged citizens, the whole purpose of public education. Just having that conversation about registering delivers an empowering message to the student. It says: we need you involved; your voice and vote matter, and when you use them, you can have an impact.”
People with disabilities, including students 18 years old and older, have the right to vote privately and independently. They have the right to an accessible polling location and accessible voting system. They also have the right to get help with voting from a person of their choosing. Students with disabilities will now be informed of their right to vote and provided the supports needed to register if requested as part of their transition planning.
Karen Rosenberg, Policy Director at the Disability Rights Center-NH, stated that “This new law weaves civic engagement directly into the fabric of a student’s transition to adulthood.”