This January, Vote16USA hired its first-ever director, Mussab Ali. Mussab comes to Vote16USA as the former Jersey City School board president, a Harvard Law School graduate, a leader within the Vote16 movement in New Jersey, and a dedicated champion of youth civic engagement. Mussab’s full bio is outlined below and he can be contacted via email at Please send him a note to welcome him in his new capacity!

Mussab Ali is Vote16USA’s first-ever director, overseeing policy research, campaign strategy & support, communications, and strategic planning for the initiative to lower the voting age to 16 in local elections. Mussab Ali has devoted his career to promoting educational equity, community involvement, and good public policy. His efforts have significantly impacted youth and community development. In 2017, Mussab made history when he was elected as the youngest official in the history of Jersey City and the youngest Muslim elected official in the United States at that time, winning his seat by a narrow margin of 68 votes. His subsequent 2018 re-election saw a broad mandate with close to 23,000 votes in favor. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to co-found the Ali Leadership Institute to equip activists, organizers, and community leaders with the necessary skills for effective civic participation at the local level.

As the former Jersey City Board of Education President —a position his peers elected him to in January 2021—Mussab was instrumental in passing the Board’s first fully funded budget in more than ten years. His tenure was marked by noteworthy achievements, including instituting a $17 per hour minimum wage, abolishing student lunch debt, and increasing Jersey City teachers’ minimum salaries to $61,000. His leadership contributions extended into August of 2022 when he was elected to the American Bar Association’s Board of Governors.

Mussab Ali’s academic journey is distinguished by his B.A. in Biology and Economics from Rutgers University-Newark, where he was a Truman Scholar, a Masters Degree from Tsinghua University as a Schwarzman Scholar, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. His time at Harvard was notable; he was the student body’s co-president, was honored with the Dean’s Award for Community Leadership, and named a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow.

Mussab’s upbringing in Jersey City to immigrant parents has been a driving influence in his professional and philanthropic life. Beyond his career, Mussab actively engages in writing and speaking on topics surrounding education, community involvement, and social justice. His perspectives have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Crimson, and his insights have reached wider audiences through CNN, Pix 11, and NJTV, among other outlets. Mussab is a survivor of Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and recently ran his first marathon.