VOTING & ELECTIONS

New Jersey citizens have numerous opportunities to cast ballots every year.  Along with the rest of the nation we elect federal officials in even numbered years, while state office holders are chosen in odd years. One rationale is to assure that state issues receive due consideration. Since most municipal officials serve three year staggered terms, some are up annually. In addition to the General Election every November, both political parties hold primaries in the spring to nominate their candidates. Most school board elections are now also held in November; only nine school districts in Bergen County still hold elections in April (Cliffside Park, Emerson, Fairview, Garfield, Hackensack, Midland Park, Oakland, Palisades Park and Ramsey); and there are a few city districts in which the mayor appoints board of education members. Municipalities with nonpartisan local government hold elections in May. Special elections may be held throughout the year for certain types of referenda.

Link to LWVNJ Citizens’ Guide to Government:  http://lwvnj.org/resources_cg.html

REGISTRATION: To qualify for voting, citizens must be registered at least 21 days before the election and be 18 years of age by the election. You may register to vote if you are 17 years old but cannot vote until you are 18. You may declare a party affiliation but are not required to do so until you want to vote in a primary. Registration is permanent unless you change your name or address, but changes in party designation are permitted annually. State law requires that sample ballots be mailed to all registered voters one week before each election. One can register in person with the town clerk or the county elections office. Registration forms may be printed from the internet: http://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/voting-information.html

VOTING BY MAIL:  A recent change in state law allows voting by mail for all qualified voters.  If you apply for a vote-by-mail ballot, you will not be permitted to vote at the polls.

Vote-By-Mail ballot applications are available:
http://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/voting-information-vote-by-mail.html

If you are a Bergen County resident, the completed application from the link should be mailed to:

Hon. John S. Hogan
Bergen County Clerk
One Bergen County Plaza, Room 130
Hackensack, NJ 07601

CANDIDATE FORUMS & LEAGUE MODERATORS

Candidate forums provide an excellent tool for the League of Women Voters to advance its mission – to encourage active, informed participation in government.  In pursuing this goal, we are eager to work with others in our communities to sponsor public candidate forums with audience participation.  We expect organizations that sponsor debates to be non-partisan and agree not to endorse any candidates; however, we have also had some excellent forums for which campaign staffs for all the candidates have worked together to make arrangements in compliance with League guidelines.

League of Women Voters believes that observing a face to face debate among opposing candidates provides an excellent opportunity for voters to judge which candidate(s) will best represent them.  To candidates, we suggest that a public forum provides a unique opportunity to present your qualifications and ideas, explain why you are running and what you hope to accomplish in the office you seek.  League moderators assure that all candidates are given equal time to speak in a dignified and controlled atmosphere where emphasis is on issues not personalities.  A fee payable to the League of Women Voters is expected for the use of the League name and service of a trained moderator.

Before contacting the League for help with a candidates forum, several things need to be in place.  The necessary first step in planning a debate is that the candidates agree to participate; a date and place should also be selected.

Since there are so many districts holding elections on the same day and the number of trained League moderators is limited, it is urgent to select a date and site as early as possible.

To request a League moderator, call our state office at 1-800-792-VOTE or e-mail contact@lwvnj.org

You will need to provide specific information as part of the process.

Click here for a League of Women Voters of New Jersey Candidates’ Forum Moderator Request Form.

The League can provide assistance in setting up non-partisan public forums on policy issues as well as candidates.

Membership in the League of Women Voters is open to all citizens of voting age and others are welcome as associates.  Support for our mission of voter education is appreciated.

OTHER LINKS:

LWVNJ Citizens’ Guide to Government: http://lwvnj.org/resources_cg.html
LWVUS voter information:  www.vote411.org