NJ Supreme Court Ends Challenge Over Public Body’s Use of Electronic Voting System
The New Jersey Supreme Court recently denied certification in Schwartz v. Princeton Board of Education, a case which the League participated in as amicus in partnership with the NJ School Boards Association (NJSBA). With this denial, the Court effectively puts an end to the matter, upholding a favorable decision from the Appellate Division.
The Princeton Board of Education case dealt with a challenge brought by plaintiff’s, as members of the community, seeking to invalidate the board’s action after an electronic voting system was used to record board member’s votes at a public meeting. The electronic voting system used allowed each member to vote on a matter but not have to reveal their decision until after all members had voted, when the results including each individual members vote, was displayed on screen for all those in attendance to view.
Plaintiffs argued that the voting system used by the board did not allow the public to witness the school board members vote and as such violated the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA). The Appellate Division, however, found that OPMA provided no specific requirements for the nature in which a vote must be taken. As such, found that the Board had not violated any OPMA requirements.
The League joined as amicus because, although the case dealt with the action of a school board, there were broader implications for municipalities that may use or wish to use similar voting systems at their own meetings. The League would like to thank NJSBA, General Counsel, Cynthia Jahn, Esq. and NJSBA Counsel, Katrina Homel, Esq. for their outstanding work on this matter.
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., Associate General Counsel, FMarshall@njlm.org or 609-695-3481 x 137.