EDITORIAL — Election law is the law, even if it seems unfair

There are plenty of laws in this state and country that, despite seeming either too lenient or too strict, are still the law. 

The first example that comes to mind is that many criminals in New Jersey are often released on their own recognizance after they commit crimes that are mind-boggling, but because of bail reform laws, judges have no other choice but to let them go without bond.

There are plenty of other laws that fit this bill, but there are too many to begin listing here. Which leads to New Jersey election law and how it affects the June primary in Kearny. NJSA 40A:9-1.13. determines eligibility for candidacy to local elective office. Dated Jan. 1, 1981, it states, clearly: “… no person shall, on or after the effective date of this act, be eligible to become a candidate for any local elective office, or to be appointed to any local elective office, unless he is registered to vote in the local unit to which the office pertains, and has been a resident of that local unit for at least one year immediately prior to the date upon which the election for the office is to be held…”

In this matter, where the eligibility of Second Ward candidate Alexis Campos is to be determined, “local unit” means the Second Ward (of Kearny) and “registered to vote” determines that eligibility. Accordingly, even if she switched her voting records to the Second Ward the same day, after voting in 2020, not only is Campos ineligible to run as a Democrat, because she reportedly voted in the Nov. 3, 2020, election in her former Third Ward location, she is, by law, even short of being eligible to run as an independent candidate for the current election, scheduled for the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November — Nov. 2, 2021.

State law guides all municipal elections. For some, this concept is foreign, but it is, in fact, the law. It’s Indisputable. 

Is the law fair? That’s open for debate. It was designed to slow down carpet bagging. 

What is not open for debate is the law itself. It could not be more clear. And as such, Campos is ineligible in 2021, regardless of anything anyone “believes,” to run in the Second Ward. Period. And the determination is made by local municipal clerks.

As for Campos voting in the improper ward in 2020, that’s another story for another day. 

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, an organization he has served since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on social media channels such as YouTube, Facebook, and X, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to Kearny to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.