Election Definitions

Elections in New Jersey are authorized under Article II of the New Jersey State Constitution, which establishes elections for the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and the members of the New Jersey Legislature. Elections are regulated under State Law, Title 19. The office of the New Jersey Secretary of State has a Division of Elections that oversees the execution of elections under state law.

A Primary Election is an election held prior to the General Election in which voters select the candidates who will run on each of the political party’s ticket. In a presidential year each political party is allowed one candidate. The Primary Election is the election used to determine the party’s one official presidential candidate. New Jersey operates under the Closed Primary Rules meaning only registered voters of that particular party affiliation may vote. If a voter is unaffiliated he/she may designate which party ballot, either Democrat or Republican, they wish to vote. Upon voting, that voter will now become affiliated with that party for future Primary Elections unless a Party Affiliation Form is received 55 days prior to the next Primary Election.

The Primary Election is always held the first Tuesday after the First Monday in June.

The polls are open for voters from 6AM to 8PM.

A General Election is an election in which all or most members of the nation’s legislative body are chosen. It determines which candidate is elected to office. The President of the United States is determined by the outcome of a General Election and is held every four years.
A General Election may also include elections for local officials and school board officials.

The General Election is held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

Polls are open from 6AM to 8PM.

A Special Election is any election that is not a General or Primary Election. It is most often held between General Elections to fill a vacancy of elected official that has died, resigned or becomes ineligible to continue in office in midterm. A Special Election might also be held to vote on school referendums.