ASSEMBLY, No. 1904

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

213th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED JANUARY 28, 2008

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman LINDA R. GREENSTEIN

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

Assemblywoman AMY H. HANDLIN

District 13 (Middlesex and Monmouth)

Assemblywoman VALERIE VAINIERI HUTTLE

District 37 (Bergen)

Assemblyman GORDON M. JOHNSON

District 37 (Bergen)

Assemblywoman CHARLOTTE VANDERVALK

District 39 (Bergen)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman McHose and Assemblyman Chiusano

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Requires adoption and distribution of constitutions and bylaws by county political party committees; requires certified list of committee members to be filed with county clerk.†

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

††


An Act concerning county political party committees and amending R.S.19:5-3 and R.S.19:13-20.†

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.††† R.S.19:5-3 is amended to read as follows:†

†††† 19:5-3. The members of the county committees of political parties shall be elected annually at the primary for the general election in the manner provided in this Title for the selection of party candidates to be voted for at the general election by voters of a municipality.† The county committee shall consist of one male and one female member from each unit of representation in the county. The male receiving the highest number of votes among the male candidates and the female receiving the highest number of votes among the female candidates shall be declared elected.† Members of the county committee shall actually reside in the districts or units which they respectively represent.† The county committee shall determine by its bylaws the units into which the county shall be divided for purpose of representation in the county committee.

†††† The members of the county committee of each of the political parties shall take office on the first Saturday following their election, on which day the terms of all members of such committees theretofore elected shall terminate. The annual meeting of each county committee shall be held on the first Tuesday following the primary election, except that when such meeting day falls on a legal holiday then the said meeting shall be held on the day following, and when such meeting day falls on the day of a municipal runoff election within the county then said meeting may be held on the day following, at an hour and place to be designated in a notice in writing to be mailed by the [chairman] chairperson of the outgoing county committee to each member-elect, at which annual meeting the members of such committee shall elect some suitable person as [chairman] chairperson who† shall be a resident of such county to hold office for 1 year, or until [his] a successor is elected.† The chairperson of the outgoing county committee shall transmit, with the notice of the annual meeting, a copy of the constitution and bylaws to any newly elected committee member.† The members shall also elect a [vice-chairman] vice-chairperson of the opposite sex of the [chairman] chairperson to hold office for 1 year or until [his or her] a successor is elected and the [vice-chairman] vice-chairperson shall perform all duties required [of him or her] by law and the constitution and bylaws of such committee.† [Such committee shall have power to adopt a constitution and bylaws for
its proper government.]The members of the county committee 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.† Any person elected or appointed to membership on the county committee pursuant to R.S.19:5-2 may request, in writing and by certified mail to the county chairperson, such constitution or bylaws.† The committee member requesting the constitution or bylaws shall receive the constitution or bylaws within 48 hours of the receipt of the request by the chairperson.† The [chairman] chairperson shall preside at all meetings of the committee and shall perform all duties required [of him] by law and the constitution and bylaws of such committee.

†††† When a member of a county committee ceases to be a resident of the district or unit from which elected, a vacancy on the county committee shall exist.† A member of a county committee of any political party may resign his or her office to the committee of which he or she is a member, and upon acceptance thereof by the committee, a vacancy shall exist.† A vacancy in the office of a member of the county committee of any political party, caused by death, resignation, failure to elect, [or otherwise] or removal for cause, shall be filled for the unexpired term by the municipal committee of the municipality wherein the vacancy occurs, if there is such committee, and if not, by the remaining members of the county committee of such political party representing the territory in the county in which such vacancy occurs.† The chairperson of the outgoing county committee shall provide a copy of the constitution and bylaws to any committee member appointed pursuant to R.S.19:5-2 to fill a vacancy within three business days of the committee memberís selection.

†††† The [chairman] chairperson of the county committee of the several political parties shall, before April 1, certify to the clerk of each municipality in the county the unit of representation in such municipality, together with the enumeration of the election district or districts embraced within such unit.

(cf:† P.L.1980, c.105, s.3)

 

†††† 2.††† R.S.19:13-20 is amended to read as follows:†

†††† 19:13-20.† In the event of a vacancy, howsoever caused, among candidates nominated at a primary election for the general election, which vacancy shall occur not later than the 51st day before the general election, or in the event of inability to select a candidate because of a tie vote at such primary, a candidate shall be selected in the following manner:

†††† a.†††† (1) In the case of an office to be filled by the voters of the entire State, the candidate shall be selected by the State committee of the political party wherein such vacancy has occurred.

†††† (2)†† In the case of an office to be filled by the voters of a single and entire county, the candidate shall be selected by the county committee in such county of the political party wherein such vacancy has occurred.

†††† (3)†† In the case of an office to be filled by the voters of a portion of the State comprising all or part of two or more counties, the candidate shall be selected by those members of the county committees of the party wherein the vacancy has occurred who represent those portions of the respective counties which are comprised in the district from which the candidate is to be elected.

†††† (4)†† In the case of an office to be filled by the voters of a portion of a single county, the candidate shall be selected by those members of the county committee of the party wherein the vacancy has occurred who represent those portions of the county which are comprised in the district from which the candidate is to be elected.

†††† At any meeting held for the selection of a candidate under this subsection, a majority of the persons eligible to vote thereat shall be required to be present for the conduct of any business, and no person shall be entitled to vote at that meeting who is appointed to the State committee or county committee after the seventh day preceding the date of the meeting.

†††† Within 20 days after the meeting of each county committee that is held on the first Tuesday following the primary election at which committee members are elected, the municipal clerk shall certify to the county clerk an official list of the duly elected county committee members.† The county party chairperson shall have a continuing duty to report to the county clerk any vacancies, resignations, and committee positions filled pursuant to R.S.19:5-2 or 19:5-3. †A report of a resignation shall be accompanied by a notarized letter of resignation signed by the resigning committee member.† Notice of vacancies in the membership of a county committee that are filled pursuant to R.S.19:5-2 or 19:5-3 shall be accompanied by a certificate of acceptance signed by the newly selected member.† The official list of the county committee members maintained by the county clerk shall be deemed to be a government record and only those county committee members listed thereon seven days prior to a selection to fill a vacancy and otherwise qualified to vote on the vacancy shall be entitled to vote on filling a vacancy pursuant to this section.

†††† † In addition, every person appointed to the county committee shall file with the county clerk a certificate of acceptance which shall be preserved by the county clerk as a government record.

†††† In the case of a meeting held to select a candidate for other than a Statewide office, the [chairman] chairperson of the meeting shall be chosen by majority vote of the persons present and entitled to vote thereat. The [chairman] chairperson so chosen may propose rules to govern the determination of credentials and the procedures under which the meeting shall be conducted, and those rules shall be adopted upon a majority vote of the persons entitled to vote upon the selection.† If a majority vote is not obtained for those rules, the delegates shall determine credentials and conduct the business of the meeting under such other rules as may be adopted by a majority vote.† All contested votes taken at the selection meeting, as referenced in subsections a. and b. of this section, shall be by secret ballot in a voting booth of the type used in primary and general elections.

†††† b.††† (1) Whenever in accordance with subsection a. of this section members of two or more county committees are empowered to select a candidate to fill a vacancy, it shall be the responsibility of the [chairmen] chairpersons of said county committees, acting jointly not later in any case than the seventh day following the occurrence of the vacancy, to give notice to each of the members of their respective committees, as certified by the county clerk, who are so empowered of the date, time and place of the meeting at which the selection will be made, that meeting to be held at least one day following the date on which the notice is given.

†††† (2)†† Whenever in accordance with the provisions of subsection a. of this section members of a county committee are empowered to select a candidate to fill a vacancy, it shall be the responsibility of the [chairman] chairperson of such county committee, not later in any case than the seventh day following the occurrence of the vacancy, to give notice to each of the members of the committee, as certified by the county clerk, who are so empowered of the date, time and place of the meeting at which the selection will be made, that meeting to be held at least one day following the date on which the notice is given.

†††† (3)†† A county committee [chairman or chairmen] chairperson or chairpersons who call a meeting pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection shall not be entitled to vote upon the selection of a candidate at such meeting unless he or she or they are so entitled pursuant to subsection a.

†††† (4)†† Whenever in accordance with the provisions of subsection a. of this section the State committee of a political party is empowered to select a candidate to fill a vacancy, it shall be the responsibility of the [chairman] chairperson of that State committee to give notice to each of the members of the committee of the date, time and place of the meeting at which the selection will be made, that meeting to be held at least one day following the date on which the notice is given.

†††† c.†††† Whenever a selection is to be made pursuant to this section to fill a vacancy resulting from inability to select a candidate because of a tie vote at a primary election for the general election, the selection shall be made from among those who have thus received the same number of votes at the primary.

†††† d.††† A selection made pursuant to this section shall be made not later than the 48th day preceding the date of the general election, and a statement of such selection shall be filed with the Attorney General or the appropriate county clerk, as the case may be, not later than that day, and in the following manner:

†††† (1)†† A selection made by a State committee of a political party shall be certified to the [Attorney General] Secretary of State by the State [chairman] chairperson of the political party.

†††† (2)†† A selection made by a county committee of a political party, or a portion of the members thereof, shall be certified to the county clerk of the county by the county [chairman] chairperson of such political party; except that when such selection is of a candidate for the Senate or General Assembly or the United States House of Representatives the county [chairman] chairperson shall certify the selection to the State [chairman] chairperson of such political party, who shall certify the same to the [Attorney General] Secretary of State.

†††† (3)†† A selection made by members of two or more county committees of a political party acting jointly shall be certified by the [chairmen] chairpersons of said committees, acting jointly, to the State [chairman] chairperson of such political party, who shall certify the same to the Attorney General.

†††† e.†††† A statement filed pursuant to subsection d. of this section shall state the residence and post office address of the person so selected, and shall certify that the person so selected is qualified under the laws of this State to be a candidate for such office, and is a member of the political party filling the vacancy.† Accompanying the statement, the person endorsed therein shall file a certificate stating that he or she is qualified under the laws of this State to be a candidate for the office mentioned in the statement, that he or she consents to stand as a candidate at the ensuing general election and that he or she is a member of the political party named in said statement, and further that he or she is not a member of, or identified with, any other political party or any political organization espousing the cause of candidates of any other political party, to which shall be annexed the oath of allegiance prescribed in R.S.41:1-1 duly taken and subscribed by him or her before an officer authorized to take oaths in this State.† The person so selected shall be the candidate of the party for such office at the ensuing general election.† Each candidate for the office of Governor or the office of member of the Senate or General Assembly filing a certification shall annex thereto a statement signed by the candidate that he or she:

†††† (1)†† has not been convicted of any offense graded by Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes as a crime of the first, second, third or fourth degree, or any offense in any other jurisdiction which, if committed in this State, would constitute such a crime; or

†††† (2)†† has been so convicted, in which case, the candidate shall disclose on the statement the crime for which convicted, the date and place of the conviction and the penalties imposed for the conviction.† Such a candidate may, as an alternative, submit with the statement a copy of an official document that provides such information.† If the candidate has been convicted of more than one criminal offense, such information about each conviction shall be provided.† Records expunged pursuant to chapter 52 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes shall not be subject to disclosure.

(cf:† P.L.2005, c.136, s.21)

 

†††† 3.††† This act shall take effect immediately.†

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill requires county political party committees to adopt and distribute a constitution and bylaws.† The bill requires the constitution and bylaws to ensure the representative rights of members of the county committee in the governance of the county party.

†††† In addition, the bill provides that within 20 days of the first county committee meeting after a primary election, the municipal clerk will certify to the county clerk an official list of the county committee members.† The bill provides the chair of a county committee will have a continuing duty to report changes in the committee membership, with appropriate documentation, to the county clerk.† It also provides that the official list of the county committee members maintained by the county clerk will be a government record that is accessible to the public and only those county committee members listed thereon seven days prior to a selection to fill a vacancy and otherwise qualified to vote on the vacancy will be entitled to vote on filling a vacancy.† In addition, every person appointed to the county committee will be required to file with the county clerk a certificate of acceptance.