Last week, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order Number 105 relating to Elections. This order, dated March 18, 2020, included a change to the process for primary petition filing in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Note that the Executive Order DID NOT change the petition deadline, which is March 30, 2020 at 4 p.m., or the number of signatures that are required to be obtained.
First, candidates can obtain signatures electronically on a nominating petition. These are only supplemental signature pages. A candidate/designee still needs to complete all of the required documents (i.e. Oath of Allegiance, Certificate of Acceptance, etc.) and all others statutory requirements remain the same.
The State Division of Elections website provides the following instructions for the use of the electronic nominating petition.
Step 1: Candidate/designee will download the nominating petition from the Division of Elections website.
Step 2: Candidate/designee will save the file to their computer/laptop.
Step 3: Candidate/designee will fill in their information where required.
Step 4: After a candidate/designee completes their information, they will need to save the file again to their computer/laptop.
Step 5: The saved petition can be provided to the petition signers electronically.
The petition signer will need to print, sign, scan the document and return to the candidate. If a petition signer do not have the ability to scan a document, please create a digital signature and return the electronic file to the candidate.
Please Note: It is the sole responsibility of the candidate/designee to collect the single signature petition forms from the voters.
The verification requirement of NJSA 19:23-11 is suspended on the on-line form, so the affidavit of circulator does not need to be notarized. (The Executive Order does not denote the notary being waived for the standard form)
Note also that hand signatures obtained prior to the effective date of the Executive Order shall be accepted.
Second, candidates who have not already signed and notarized an Oath of Allegiance shall attach a signed Pledge of Allegiance to their petitions containing the same language as prescribed in N.J.S.A. 41:1-1. This pledge can be found on the State website.
Third, according to the Executive Order, the Secretary of State, county clerks and municipal clerks must allow for candidates petitions to be submitted electronically.
For more information, please visit the State Division of Elections website at https://nj.gov/state/elections/candidate-information.shtml.