NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A newly elected school board member in Millburn may be the youngest elected official in New Jersey, 1010 WINS Steve Sandberg reports.
Chase Harrison, 18, beat incumbent board member Rona Wenik, winning 1,805 votes to Wenik’s 1,653, according to incomplete results from the Essex County Clerk’s office.
“He’s been 18 for two months,” said County Clerk Christopher Durkin. “I cannot imagine anyone being younger.”
David and Beth Harrison, Chases’ parents, said their son ran his own campaign largely based on Facebook and social media.
Harrison filed his nominating petitions while he was still 17-years-old — the minimum age to run for office is 18 — but Essex made an exception for the Millburn High senior.
When Millburn, along with the majority of towns in Essex, opted to move school board elections from April to November, the filing deadline for candidates remained the same, Durkin said. As a result, the filing deadline of 50 days prior to Election Day stretched into a five-month period, which Durkin called “an onerous deadline.”
“I think having a filing deadline five months before prohibits certain candidates,” he said.
So when Harrison’s petitions came across his desk, Durkin consulted with the county counsel and determined that he would certify the papers because Harrison would turn 18 by the November election.
Durkin says he’s never made such an age-related exception since he’s been the Essex clerk since 2006.
“This is very unusual. I think it’s positive that someone that young wants to be involved in the process.”
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