Office of County Clerk
History of the Office
The office of the County Clerk, sometimes referred to as “Keeper of the Records,” is probably one of the first and oldest offices in the State.
After the organization of the State of New Jersey, official sanction was given to the office, and the name “County Clerk” was conferred upon the official in charge. The first reference to the office under this title appears in the law passed in June 7, 1779. The law, giving legal status to the office, was passed in 1806. The office was provided for in the Constitution of 1844, and again in the most recent Constitution of 1947. The County Clerk is therefore referred to as a “Constitutional Officer”.
There is now a County Clerk elected in each of the twenty-one counties. Each County Clerk is elected for a term of five years. The Clerk must act in accordance with the New Jersey statutes set up for their office by the State Legislature.
The duties of the County Clerk are numerous with special responsibilities including, but not limited to:
Administering the Oath of Office and certifying notaries; Passport Services; Clerk Certificates; filing Trade Name Certificates; recording documents concerned with any Real Estate transaction (such as Mortgages and Deeds); filing of Military Discharges and issuance of Veteran Identification Cards, issurance of Veteran’s Peddlers Licences; filing of Sub-division Maps and Wetlands Riparian Aerial Photos; and performing Wedding Ceremonies.
The County Clerk also plays a key role in the conduct of elections. All petitions for candidates for elective Countywide offices are filed in the Clerk’s office, as are Independent candidate petitions for any county or municipal seats, and all petitions for school board. The Clerk is in charge of preparing and printing all election ballots. This includes; the sample ballots for the Primary and General elections. The Clerk’s office receives and processes all applications for Vote by Mail. The County Clerk also draws for ballot position of candidates in the general election and for “top ballot” candidate positions in the June primary election. The county clerk acts as Clerk of the Board of County Canvassers and certifies official election results to the New Jersey Secretary of State. The Clerk prints voter registry lists and distributes same in accordance with election law.
The Clerk’s Office is also an acceptance agency for the United States Department of State. Employees assist with the processing of passport applications. The County Clerk is authorized to appoint two Deputy Clerks and can designate Special Deputies to serve in special capacity in the County Clerk’s Office.