College students who registered to vote but had their applications denied by Republican Commissioner Erik Haight will be able to vote in tomorrow's presidential election, a federal district court judge ruled from the bench late Monday afternoon.
The decision by Judge Kenneth Karas is the result of a class action lawsuit filed Thursday by four college students against the Dutchess County Board of Elections to protect the fundamental right to vote. The students -- who attend the Culinary Institute of America, Marist College and Bard College -- registered to vote and provided both street and mailing addresses, but were denied by Haight because they either did not provide the technical name of their dormitory buildings or their room numbers on their applications. Approximately 100 students were similarly denied the right to register for the same reason.
The students were represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union and the law firm of Lowenstein Sandler PC. The victory protects the four individually named students and all similarly situated students.
"This is a victory for voting rights. The right to vote is preservative of all other rights in a democracy, and deserves the strictest constitutional protection possible," said NYCLU Legal Director Arthur Eisenberg.
The Board of Elections must immediately register students whose applications were previously denied and supplemental election books must be sent to polling sites by 6 a.m. tomorrow morning so all effected students will be able to cast their ballots.