Ballot access requirements for political candidates in New Jersey

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See also
This page contains extensive information about ballot access requirements for federal candidates running for elected office in the state of New Jersey. Offices included are:

This page contains information on specific filing dates for each election year, how to become a candidate, how to create a political party, campaign finance requirements, state agency contacts involved in the election process, and term limits in New Jersey. Information on running for election as a presidential candidate or for county and municipal offices is not included. This page reflects research completed in April 2014.

Note: If you have any questions or comments about this page, email us.

Year-specific dates

2014

See also: New Jersey elections, 2014

New Jersey held a primary election on June 3, 2014. The general election will take place on November 4, 2014. Voters will elect candidates to serve in the following state and federal offices:

The filing deadline for partisan candidates participating in the primary election was March 31, 2014.[1] The filing deadline for independent candidates participating in the general election was June 3, 2014.[2]

Legend:      Ballot access     Campaign finance     Election date




Dates and requirements for candidates in 2014
Deadline Event type Event description
March 31, 2014 Ballot access Filing deadline for partisan candidates participating in the primary election
April 4, 2014 Ballot access Deadline to file objections to petitions for the primary election
May 5, 2014 Campaign finance 29-day pre-primary report due (ending May 2)
May 23, 2014 Campaign finance 11-day pre-primary report due (ending May 20)
June 3, 2014 Election date Primary Date
June 3, 2014 Ballot access Filing deadline for independent candidates participating in the general election
June 7, 2014 Ballot access Deadline to file objections to petitions for the general election
October 6, 2014 Campaign finance 29-day pre-general report due (ending October 3, 2014)
October 24, 2014 Campaign finance 11-day pre-general report due (ending October 21)
November 4, 2014 Election date General election
November 24, 2014 Campaign finance 20-day post-general report due (ending November 21)

In New Jersey, any individual may file a challenge to a candidate's petition. Objections must be filed not later than the fourth day after the last day for filing of petitions. For the primary election, this deadline is April 4, 2014. For the general election, this deadline was June 7, 2014. Objections must also be made in writing. In all challenges, the objector has the burden of proving that a petition is invalid.[3]

Political parties

See also: List of political parties in the United States

As of September 2013, there are two officially recognized political parties in New Jersey.[4] In order to be recognized by the state, a political party must fulfill certain requirements (detailed below in "Process to establish a political party").

Party Website link By-laws/platform link
Republican http://www.njgop.org Party by-laws
Democratic http://www.njdems.org/ Party by-laws

In some states, a candidate may choose to have a label other than that of an officially recognized party appear alongside his or her name on the ballot. Such labels are called political party designations. A political party designation would be used when a candidate qualifies as an independent, but prefers to use a different label. New Jersey does allow candidates to identify in this way. A total of 25 states allow candidates to use political party designations in non-presidential elections.[5]

The 11 states listed below (and Washington, D.C.) do not provide a process for political organizations to gain qualified status in advance of an election. Instead, in these states, an aspirant party must first field candidates using party designations. If the candidate or candidates win the requisite votes, the organization may then be recognized as an official political party. In these states, a political party can be formed only if the candidate in the general election obtains a specific number of votes. The number of votes required and type of race vary from state to state. Details can be found on the state-specific requirements pages.[6]

Events

In a 1997 federal lawsuit, a coalition of several smaller parties challenged a New Jersey state election law that required candidates seeking to run as nominees of those political parties to gather signatures from registered voters long before the general election, while also requiring a party to receive 10 percent of the total vote in the election for members of the General Assembly.[7] The decision was issued in 1999, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld the state election law as reasonable and nondiscriminatory.[8]

Process to establish a political party

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 19, Chapter 12 of the New Jersey Permanent Statutes

The New Jersey statutes define a "political party" to be "a party which, at the election held for all of the members of the General Assembly next preceding the holding of any primary election held pursuant to this Title, polled for members of the General Assembly at least 10 percent of the total vote cast in this State."[9]

Certification

  • In order to qualify as a certified political party in New Jersey, candidates having the same designation in a general election for all members of the General Assembly must receive 10% of the total vote cast in the state, creating "a political party" within the meaning of the statute, to be known and recognized as such under the same designation as used by the candidates for whom the required number of votes were cast.[10]
  • Candidates who file a petition with a designation are allowed to state in not more than 3 words the designation of the party or principles which the candidates therein named represent, but such designation shall not contain the designation name, derivative, or any part thereof as a noun or an adjective of any political party entitled to participate in the primary election.[11]
  • The petition shall also include the request that the names of the candidates and their designations of party or principles be printed upon the ballots to be used at the ensuing general election.[11]
  • The requirements for candidates running under a designation are the same requirements for independent candidates nominated by petition, including signature requirements.
  • After a new party has been certified, they will become a "political party" within the meaning of the statute. A political party may then nominate candidates for public office at primary elections, elect committees for the party within the state, county or municipality, as the case may be, and in every other respect may exercise the rights and shall be subject to the restrictions herein provided for political parties; except that no political party which fails to poll at any primary election for a general election at least 10% of the votes cast in the state for members of the General Assembly at the next preceding general election, held for the election of all of the members of the General Assembly, shall be entitled to have a party column on the official ballot at the general election for which the primary election has been held.[12]
  • For an example on how many votes a new political party's candidates will need to receive to achieve certification, look to the table below:
Votes cast in 2013 General Assembly election Number of votes needed to be officially recognized by the state (10% of votes cast for the General Assembly)
3,809,499[13] 380,950

Constitution and bylaws[14]

  • The members of the county committee of a political party shall adopt a constitution and bylaws, ensuring fundamental fairness and the rights of the members of the county committee in the governance of the county party.
  • The constitution and bylaws of a county committee shall be posted and displayed on its Internet website, if the committee has a website.
  • A county committee shall provide a copy of its constitution and bylaws to the county board of elections of the county, and the constitution and bylaws shall be posted and displayed on the county board's Internet website, if the county board has a website.

Party organization

  • A political party may organize and elect committees for the party within the state, county, or municipality, as the case may be.
  • The members of the county committees of political parties shall be elected at the same primary for the general election as the selection of party candidates and elected by voters of a municipality at such intervals as shall be provided in the bylaws of the county committee.[15]
  • The members of the state committee of each of the political parties shall be elected at the primary for the general election of the year in which a governor is to be elected.[16]

Party conventions

  • There shall be held in each year in which all members of the General Assembly are to be elected, a state convention of each of the political parties.
  • A state convention shall consist of the following members:
  • The party convention shall have power to adopt and promulgate a party platform for its party, and to transact such other business as may properly come before it. The convention of each political party shall appoint a committee on resolutions consisting of five members. The convention shall then be open for the reception of all proposed planks for the party platform, which planks shall be referred to the committee on resolutions, whose duty it shall be to prepare a tentative party platform and furnish it to each member of the convention within 75 days.
  • The committee on resolutions of each political party shall hold a minimum of three public hearings throughout the state. A number of such public hearings shall be held in the evenings, if feasible, to give the largest possible number of people an opportunity to express their views.
  • The state convention of each political party shall adjourn to meet again at its originally set meeting place not later than 90 days after the initial adjournment of such convention. The state chairman of each political party shall set the date of the adjourned meeting of his party. A notice of the date of the adjourned meeting of each political party shall be furnished to each member of each respective convention not later than 15 days prior to such adjourned meeting.
  • At such meeting the respective conventions shall consider and may adopt the draft of the platform so prepared by the committee on resolutions with such amendments as shall be suggested and adopted in the conventions as a whole.
  • The voting on the adoption of the party platform shall be on the entire platform as reported by the committee on resolutions, unless there be an objection to any separate plank or planks or to any amendment thereto, in which case the voting on such plank or planks or amendment shall be by the "ayes" and "nays" of the members of the convention present and voting.[17]

Process to become a candidate

Quick facts about Lieutenant Governors
  • 45 states have Lt. governors, 43 of them fill the office by election
  • 21 states, including New Jersey, elect Lt. governors on a single ticket with the governor at both the primary and general elections
  • 5 states elect Lt. governors separately from Governors at the primary and then put the top two vote-getters together on the general election ballot
  • 17 states elect Lt. governors separately from the Governor

For partisan candidates

Figure 1: This is a Petition for Member of the United States House of Representative form for candidates running for election in New Jersey.

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 19, Article 23 of the New Jersey Permanent Statutes

Candidates to be voted for at the primary election for the general election shall be nominated exclusively by the members of the same political party by petition.[18] Candidates must also do the following:

  • File a petition including the required amount of signatures applicable to the office sought, including a guarantee that signers are qualified voters of New Jersey, the congressional district, or the election district in which a candidate is running.[19]
  • The petition must include that the circulator/witness is the person who collected the signatures on the petition and must complete and sign the affidavit where indicated.[20]
  • Candidate must sign a "Certificate of Acceptance" and an "Oath of Allegiance" to accompany the petition. The Oath of Allegiance must also be notarized.[21]
  • The petition may also include a candidate's designation/slogan, which must not exceed 6 words. The designation is for the purpose of indicating either any official act or policy to which the candidate is pledged or committed, or to distinguish him as belonging to a particular faction or wing of his political party, provided, however, that no such designation or slogan shall include or refer to the name of any person or any incorporated association of New Jersey without written consent.[22]

Signature requirements for primary contests are established by Title 19, Article 23, Section 8 of the New Jersey Permanent Statutes.

Office Signature requirements
State Senator 100 registered voters from the district
Member of the State House 100 registered voters from the district
Member of the U.S. House 200 registered voters from the congressional district
U.S. Senator 1000 voters in the state who are members of the applicable political party

For independent candidates

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 19, Article 13 of the New Jersey Permanent Statutes

Independent candidates must meet the same petition requirements as partisan candidates, including signatures, a Certificate of Acceptance and Oath of Allegiance, and a signed affidavit of the circulator of the petition.[23] Signature requirements for independent candidates are established by Title 19, Article 13, Section 5 of the New Jersey Permanent Statutes and are as follows:

Office Signature requirements
State Senator 100 registered voters from the district
Member of the State House 100 registered voters from the district
Member of the U.S. House 100 registered voters from the congressional district
U.S. Senator 800 registered voters in the state

Petition requirements

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 19, Chapter 23 of the New Jersey Permanent Statutes

In some cases, political parties and/or candidates may need to obtain signatures via the petition process to gain ballot access. This section outlines the laws and regulations pertaining to petitions and circulators.

Petition circulators must complete and sign an affidavit. The affidavit must also be notarized. The circulator/witness must sign the petition as a petitioner on a numbered line and must identify the signature of the circulator. The circulator does not have to be a registered voter of the district, but must be a voter-eligible New Jersey resident and provide his or her address on the petition in the designated location.[24]

In New Jersey, any individual may file a challenge to a candidate's petition. Objections must be filed not later than the fourth day after the last day for filing of petitions. For the primary election, this deadline is April 4, 2014. For the general election, this deadline is June 7, 2014. Objections must also be made in writing. In all challenges, the objector has the burden of proving that a petition is invalid.[25]

Campaign finance

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 19, Article 44 of the New Jersey Permanent Statutes

Candidates for all elected public offices in New Jersey must file reports of their campaign financial activity with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission. Candidates for federal office are not required to file with the Commission.

  • Each candidate is required to appoint a treasurer (a candidate may serve as his or her own treasurer) and create a campaign depository (a bank account) and file this information with the Commission.[26]
  • Candidates must establish a reporting committee, which has the sole name under which a candidate receives contributions, makes expenditures, labels its political identification statements, or otherwise does business. It is recommended that the name of the campaign depository should also be the same as the name of the committee.[27]
  • No later than 10 days after establishing a candidate committee, the candidate shall file the "Single Candidate Committee Certificate of Organization and Designation of Campaign Treasurer and Depository" with the Commission.
  • An organizational or campaign treasurer or deputy organizational or campaign treasurer of a candidate committee or joint candidates committee shall make a written record of all funds which he receives as contributions to the candidate committee, joint candidates committee, including in that record the following:
    • The name and mailing address of the contributor
    • The amount and date of the contribution
    • Where the contributor is an individual, the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.[28]

Reporting requirements

  • A candidate committee must begin filing reports with the Commission on a date that depends upon when the financial activity commences.[29]
  • If a candidate committee is begun within 5 months or less of the due date of the 29-day pre-election report, the committee will file a 29-day pre-election report as the initial election fund report. If the committee is established more than 5 months prior to the due date of the 29-day pre-election report, the committee must file a quarterly report as its initial election fund report.[29]
  • The forms that a candidate must file depend upon whether whether a candidate will file as a single candidate or will join together with other candidates and file as a joint candidates committee and the amount of money that will be spent in the election:

For single candidate committee

Spending nothing Spending $4,500 or Less Spending $4,500 or More
Form A-1 Form A-1 and Form D-1 Form D-1 and Form R-1

For joint candidate committee

Spending nothing Spending $8,500 or Less Spending $8,500 or More
Form A-2 Form D-2 and Form A-2 Form D-2 and Form R-1

Reporting schedule

  • During the period between the appointment of the campaign treasurer and the election, the campaign treasurer shall file his cumulative campaign report on three separate dates:
    • The 29th day preceding the election
    • The 11th day preceding the election
    • After the election, the treasurer shall file his report on the 20th day following such election.
  • Concurrent with the report filed on the 20th day following an election, or at any time thereafter, the treasurer of a candidate committee or joint candidates committee may certify to the Commission that the election fund of such candidate committee or joint candidates committee has wound up its business and been dissolved, or that business regarding the late election has been wound up but the candidate committee or joint candidates committee will continue for the deposit and use of contributions.[30]

Primary election

Deadline Report Reporting period
May 5, 2014 29-day pre-election Inception of campaign - May 2, 2014
May 23, 2014 11-day pre-election May 3, 2014 - May 20, 2014
June 23, 2014 20-day post-election May 21, 2014 - June 20, 2014
Within 48 hours 48 Hour Notice Reports May 21, 2014 - June 3, 2014

General election

Deadline Report Reporting period
October 6, 2014 29-day pre-election June 21, 2014 - October 3, 2014
October 24, 2014 11-day pre-election October 4, 2014 - October 21, 2014
November 24, 2014 20-day post-election October 22, 2014 - November 21, 2014
Within 48 hours 48 Hour Notice Reports October 22, 2014 - November 4, 2014

Contribution limits
No individual contributor can donate to a candidate which in the aggregate exceeds $2,600 per election season.[31]

Election-related agencies

See also: State election agencies

Candidates running for office may require some form of interaction with the following agencies:

  • New Jersey Secretary of State
Why: This agency provides and processes petitions and paperwork for state and federal offices.
Physical address: 225 West State Street, 5th Floor, Trenton, NJ 08608
Mailing address: P.O. Box 304, Trenton, NJ 08625-0304
Telephone: 609-292-3760
Toll free: 1-877-NJVOTER
Fax: 609-777-1280
Email: njelections@sos.state.nj.us
http://www.state.nj.us/
  • New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission
Why: This agency provides and processes campaign finance reports.
Physical address: 28 West State Street, 13th Floor, Trenton, New Jersey 08608-1602
Mailing address: P.O. Box 185P.O. Box 185, Trenton, NJ 08625-0185
Telephone: 609-292-8700
Fax: 609-777-1448
http://www.elec.state.nj.us/

Term limits

State executives

Portal:State Executive Officials
See also: State executives with term limits and States with gubernatorial term limits

The state executive term limits in New Jersey are as follows:[32]

  • Governor of New Jersey may serve two consecutive terms. After those terms, a politician must wait four years to be eligible for the office again.
  • Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey may serve two consecutive terms. After those terms, a politician must wait four years to be eligible for the office again.

There are no state executives term limited in 2014.

State legislators

See also: State legislatures with term limits

New Jersey does not place term limits on state legislators.

Congressional partisanship

Portal:Congress
See also: List of United States Representatives from New Jersey and List of United States Senators from New Jersey

Here is the current partisan breakdown of the congressional members from New Jersey:

Congressional Partisan Breakdown from New Jersey
Party U.S. Senate U.S. House Total
     Democratic Party 2 5 7
     Republican Party 0 6 6
TOTALS as of October 2014 2 11 13

State legislative partisanship

Portal:State legislatures

Here is the current partisan breakdown of members of the state legislature of New Jersey:

Senate

Party As of October 2014
     Democratic Party 24
     Republican Party 16
Total 40

House

Party As of October 2014
     Democratic Party 48
     Republican Party 32
Total 80

See also

External links

Official state and federal links

News

Other information

References

  1. FEC 2014 Congressional Primary Election Dates and Candidate Filing Deadlines for Ballot Access, Updated November 21, 2013
  2. New Jersey Division of Elections, "Independent Candidates Instruction," accessed January 23, 2014
  3. New Jersey Permanent Statutes, "Title 19:13-8," accessed January 23, 2014
  4. Ballotpedia phone call with New Jersey Elections Division on January 29, 2014
  5. New Jersey Statutes, "Title 19, Chapter 13, Section 4," accessed December 5, 2013
  6. E-mail consultation with ballot access expert Richard Winger in January 2014.
  7. New York Times, "Small Parties Join in Lawsuit Against Stringent Ballot Rules," accessed January 29, 2014
  8. OpenJurist.org, "The Council of Alternative Political Parties v. Secretary of State of the State of New Jersey," accessed January 29, 2014
  9. New Jersey Permanent Statutes, "Chapter 19:1-1," accessed January 25, 2014
  10. New Jersey Permanent Statutes, "Title 19:12-1," accessed January 17, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 New Jersey Permanent Statutes, "Title 19:13-4," accessed January 20, 2014
  12. New Jersey Permanent Statutes, "Title 19:5-1," accessed January 20, 2014
  13. New Jersey Division of Elections, "2013 General Assembly General Election Statistics-State of New Jersey," accessed January 23, 2014
  14. New Jersey Permanent Statutes, "Title 19:5-3.2," accessed January 20, 2014
  15. New Jersey Permanent Statutes, "Title 19:5-3," accessed January 21, 2014
  16. New Jersey Permanent Statutes, "Title 19:5-4," accessed January 21, 2014
  17. New Jersey Permanent Statutes, "Title 19:5-6," accessed January 22, 2014
  18. New Jersey Permanent Statutes, "Title 19:23-5," accessed January 9, 2014
  19. New Jersey Permanent Statutes, "Title 19:23-8," accessed January 9, 2014
  20. New Jersey Permanent Statutes, "Title 19:23-11," accessed January 9, 2014
  21. New Jersey Permanent Statutes, "Title 19:23-15," accessed January 9, 2014
  22. New Jersey Permanent Statutes, "Title 19:23-17," accessed January 9, 2014
  23. New Jersey Secretary of State, "Petition Filing Instructions: Independent Candidates," accessed January 9, 2014
  24. New Jersey Elections Division, "Petition Filing Instructions," accessed January 20, 2013
  25. New Jersey Permanent Statutes, "Title 19:13-8," accessed January 23, 2014
  26. New Jersey Permanent Statutes, "Title 19:44A-10," accessed January 9, 2014
  27. New Jersey Permanent Statutes, "Title 19:44A-11," accessed January 9, 2014
  28. New Jersey Permanent Statutes, "Title 19:44A-12," accessed January 14, 2014
  29. 29.0 29.1 New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, "Compliance Manual for Candidates," accessed January 9, 2014
  30. New Jersey Permanent Statutes, "Title 19:44A-16," accessed January 14, 2014
  31. New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, "Contribution Limits Chart," accessed April 9, 2014
  32. New Jersey Constitution, "Article V, Section I, paragraph 4," accessed November 18, 2013