Perspective: Atlantic County Clerk
This month I want to discuss the upcoming primary election. There are several things that the Atlantic County Clerk is responsible for and it is all statute- driven. There are two other components to the election process and they are the Board of Elections and the Superintendent of Elections.
Since taking office in January, I have instituted bi-weekly meetings with the other two components. These meetings will assist with all parties being up to speed with elections and also serve as check and balance to insure that nothing is missed during an election process. It is my firm belief that when everyone works together the public will be served better.
Now on to the clerk’s duties, once the petitions were filed for local offices, (They are filed with the local municipal clerk.) county petitions, (They are filed with the county clerk.). State and federal candidates are filed with the state. It is up to the location where they are filed to review the petition, which includes checking names, slogans and in general making sure the petition is correct. Once this is done it is up to the local jurisdiction to certify and forward candidate names to the county clerk so that ballot preparation can begin.
If there is more than one candidate for a certain position this is called a primary challenge. Some candidates are backed by the county organization which means they will receive the county line. If not running on the county line you are considered “off line.”
If there are more than two, a drawing is held. This is a public drawing in which the date , time and location is posted so that anyone from the public can attend. Once this is completed, putting the ballot together commences. At this point the clerk has approximately five days to get the ballot put together, proofed and sent to the printer.
The printer has a very short window to get the ballot printed and then once again returned to the clerk for the final proof. After a final certification from the clerk, the ballot goes to print.
At this point when the printing is complete the sample ballots are printed, along with the vote by mail ballots, provisional ballots and the printed faces for the actual voting machines. The vote by mail ballots are then assembled and mailed. As the election progresses, if anyone is need of a vote by mail ballot and an application is filled out and submitted to the clerk’s office, that also is mailed to the voter.
At this point, the clerk’s office has pretty much completed its task of the election as vote by mail ballots are returned to the board of elections where they are counted.
The clerk’s final part in the primary election is the posting of the results on election night and then later posting the final results after it’s certified. As always I encourage everyone to vote. This year the primary election will be held on June 7, and early voting with take place on June 3, 4 and 5.
There will be seven early voting sites throughout Atlantic County for the primary and they are Buena Vista, Hammonton, Galloway Twp., Egg Harbor Twp., Northfield, Mays Landing and Atlantic City. No matter how you vote, where you vote or whatever method you choose, always remember it’s your right to vote. Lastly if you have any questions please feel free to call the clerk’s office at (609) 625-4011.
Joseph J. Giralo
Atlantic County Clerk