Perspective: Atlantic County Clerk
This month I want to discuss elections and what are the duties and responsibilities of the Atlantic County Clerk’s office. The first responsibility is that of receiving petitions for those individuals running for county offices. State office or Federal office petitions are filed with the State of New Jersey Division of Elections. If an individual is running for a municipal office, these petitions are filed with the municipal clerk. Once the petitions are filed, all names of those seeking office are forwarded to the county clerk’s office. This year petitions are due by 4 p.m. on Monday, April 4.
Once the names are forwarded, it is the Atlantic County Clerk’s responsibility to conduct a drawing for ballot position. This process is a public process of which any member of the public is welcome to attend. This year the drawing for the primary will take place on Thursday, April 14 at 3 p.m. at the county clerk’s office in Mays Landing. Once this is completed, it’s the clerk’s responsibility to create the ballot which then goes to the printer.
For this year’s primary election, the clerk’s office will be creating up to 66 different sample ballots and voting machine layouts. This will cover the 23 voting municipalities throughout Atlantic County. The timeline from petition filing to ballot position and the degree of ballots is an extremely short window of time. Within completion of the above within a week’s time the printer then processes the printing and has it returned so that the clerk’s office can commence with mailing of mail-in ballots for the June 7 primary election.
During the 2021 Primary and General election cycles, the Atlantic County Clerk’s office prepared and mailed over 25,000 Vote by Mail (VBM) Ballots. These are for individuals that do not vote at the polls for either early voting or on Election Day.
The VBM’S have exploded in the past few years. One noticeable trend of the VBM’s is that a large amount of voters do not return them. It has also been cited that many that do not return their VBM go to the polls and wind up voting a provisional ballot which creates frustration on the part of the voter. There are several ways a voter can opt out of the VBM Ballots.
Contacting the Atlantic County Clerk’s office or sending a letter to the clerk’s office and asking to be removed is very simple and will cut down on confusion as well as frustration on Election Day.
Lastly, the clerk’s office prepares Election Day provisional packets for the polls. Returned VBM’s are counted by the County Board of Elections and the Superintendent of Election offices. It is my intention to provide the public with absolute confidence in the voting process.
As always if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at the clerk’s office at (609) 625-7000.
Atlantic County Clerk