In Roselle Park, when it comes to Democratic and Republican candidates running for municipal office, voters do not decide on who to vote for, they simply get to choose from candidates who have been already picked for them by municipal political committees.
The members of local political committees are the ones who decide who will run under their party line.
residents can write-in themselves or the person they choose who lives in their respective district as a committee member…”
There are those who believe that the real power does not lay in the elected officials but in those who control who runs for local office in Roselle Park.
During the primary, a completely overlooked election also takes place. It is the one that elects the local political committee members.
Each major political party holds these elections every two years with Democratic committee elections taking place during odd-numbered years and Republican committee elections occurring every even-numbered year.
This year, Roselle Park Republican Municipal Committee (RPRMC) members run for seats on the local committee. 20 seats are up for election – four (4) seats for each of the five wards in Roselle Park. Each ward has two (2) districts with one man and one woman appointed for each district. This coming June, seven (7) seats – more than 33% – of RPRMC committee seats are vacant.
An elected party committee member has the power to:
- Adopt or amend the by-laws and committee constitution;
- Interview and pick party-endorsed mayoral and council candidates for primary and general elections;
- Interview and pick vacancies in a local political committee;
- Have a say in who gets chosen for appointed positions in various municipal boards and committees, including appointing themselves and other members of their political committee;
- Recommend who serves as a paid election day poll worker, usually over residents not affiliated with either party for a non-partisan event.
Although the final decision to appoint someone to a local board or volunteer position is left to the mayor and/or council, names are usually presented by committee members to elected officials who are then considered before other residents, including those who have filled out Citizen Service Forms or who may have more experience or be better qualified.
As for who can become a Roselle Park Republican Committee member, the qualifications are:
- A resident of the election district;
- Registered to vote as a Republican
The deadline for filing a nominating petition has passed but residents can write-in themselves or the person they choose who lives in their respective district as a committee member – as long as that person is registered as a Republican. In the past, residents have won seats on local political committees with as little as two (2) votes.
Anyone who wants information on what ward and district they live in can find out by looking at the outside ballot that is mailed to all registered residents. The Borough Clerk’s Office can also be contacted at (908) 245-6180 to determine the ward and district a resident is registered in.
Primary election day is Tuesday, June 5th.