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Princeton Politics and Elections

Politics play an important part in the life of the Princeton community. Citizens participate in political activities by helping to select candidates, raise campaign funds and conduct election campaigns. The two major parties are well organized and are active on a year-round basis. Three elections are held each year: the Primary, the General and the School Board.


To qualify to register to vote, one must:

  • be a citizen of the United States
  • be 18 years old or older by the date of the next General Election
  • have resided in the county for 30 days by the day of the next General Election.

How and Where to Register

A prospective voter may register in person at either the office of the County Superintendent of Elections, 640 S. Broad Street, Trenton, or at the office of the Municipal Clerk. A mail-in registration form is available from the Superintendent of Elections 989-6750, the Municipal Clerk or the League of Women Voters 800-792-VOTE or 394-3303.

When to Register

A person must register at least 29 days preceding an election. Registration is permanent in New Jersey but one must re-register for the following reasons:

  • failure to vote for four consecutive years
  • change in name
  • change in residence

The exception to the re-registration rule is a move within the county.

  • Voters who have moved within the same voting district can vote if the address change is less than 2 years old.
  • If the move is within 28 days of an election and within the same county, a person may vote in the former election district for that election only by signing an affidavit at the polls concerning change of address.
  • When the move is within the county, even between two voting districts in a municipality, more than 28 days prior to an election, a change of address card (available from Municipal Clerks) must be filed with the Superintendent of Elections.

When and Where to Vote

All registered voters receive in the mail from the Superintendent of Elections a SAMPLE BALLOT containing the following information:

  • where to vote
  • hours when the polls are open
  • offices to be voted on
  • names of candidates
  • public questions
  • how to use a voting machine
  • number of the election district
  • handicap accessibility

Sample ballots are not mailed before school board elections. Information is made available through the newspapers and by mail from the School District.

Voting machines are used in all elections throughout the community. Provision is made for write-in votes for individuals whose names do not appear on the ballot. The complete election code is contained in Title 19 of the New Jersey Statutes, available in the Public Library or the office of the Municipal Clerk.

General Elections and Primaries

Princeton Borough and Princeton Township hold General Elections on the same date that national elections are held, the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Voting for national, state, county and local officials takes place at this time.

In a Primary Election voters select candidates from their own parties whom they want to have nominated for the General Election. New Jersey has what is known as a restricted Primary, that is, a voter must be a declared Democrat or Republican to vote in that Party's Primary. The only way to change party affiliation is to make a signed declaration at least 50 days preceding the Primary. Forms for this may be obtained from the Municipal Clerk's office. A person who has never voted in a Primary may vote for either party's candidates. Party affiliation is declared when voting in a party's primary for the first time.

Absentee Voting

A registered voter may vote by absentee ballot for any of the following reasons:

  • absence from the state on election day
  • illness or physical disability (including blindness or pregnancy)
  • observance of a religious holiday
  • resident attendance at school, college, or university
  • hours and nature of employment
  • eligibility for Military Service Ballot
  • overseas residence (federal elections only)

Application for an absentee ballot may be obtain in person or by mail from:

Princeton Borough Clerk			Princeton Town Clerk
Monument Drive				369 Witherspoon Street
P.O. Box 390				Princeton, NJ 08540
Princeton, NJ 08540

(School Board elections)		County Clerk
209 S. Broad Street			School District Secretary
P.O. Box 8068				25 Valley Road
Trenton, NJ 08650			P.O. Box 711
					Princeton, NJ 08540

Application for an absentee ballot must be received by the County Clerk no later than 7 days preceding the election. Absentee ballots must reach the County Board of Elections, 640 S. Broad St. Trenton, 08650 by the close of Election Day.

Emergency Provisions for an Absentee Ballot

Within the 7-day period preceding an election and until 3 p.m. the day before the election, you may vote absentee in person at the office of the County Clerk, 209 S. Broad Street, Trenton. If you are ill or incapacitated, you may send someone as your messenger with written authorization to obtain your ballot and return it to the County Clerk's office.

Municipal County Committeemen and Women

Voters in each of the Borough's 10 and the Township's 14 election districts elect one County Committeeman and one County Committeewoman from the Democratic and Republican parties in the Primary Election to represent them in party affairs. Their duties include stimulating voter registration, getting out the vote on Election Day, serving as challengers at the polls, and helping to find qualified citizens to run for local office. Anyone interested in participating in local political activities may contact the Municipal Chair for the Democratic or Republican Party or his/her own Committeeman or woman.

Municipal Nominations

Each party nominates its local candidates by petition which must be filed with the Borough or Township Clerk at least 40 days before the Primary. The number of signatures needed on the petition must equal at least 5% of the total vote cast in the municipality in the last preceding Primary held for the election of that party's candidates to the General Assembly.

A candidate for local office must have been a resident and a registered voter for at least one year before running. If two or more candidates seek their party's nomination for any office, the choice is made at the Primary Election.

School Board Elections

The annual School Board Election is held on the first Tuesday in April. It is supervised by the Secretary of the School Board. As in other elections, registration closes 29 days before the voting date. Three members are elected each year on a non-partisan basis for a three-year term. The school budget is presented to the voters for approval at the same time.


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