Office of County Clerk
History of the Office
The office of the County Clerk, anciently known as “Keeper of the Records,” is probably one of the first and oldest offices in the State.
Offices and methods in England were transplanted to this country at the time of its rounding. In 1677 it was agreed and ordained that there be kept a “Register at London, within the Nation of England,” and also another “Register within the Province of West New Jersey,” who kept exact entries and records of all public affairs, land grants and leases. From this beginning sprang the office of County Clerk.
After the organization of the State, 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 statutes set up for his 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; filing Trade Name Certificates; recording documents concerned with the purchase and sale of Real Estate; filing of Military Discharges and issuance of Veteran Identification Cards; filing of Sub-division Maps and Wetlands Riparian Aerial Photos; issuance of Veterans Peddlers Licenses; and the option of performing Wedding Ceremonies.
The County Clerk also plays a key role in the conduct of elections. All petitions for candidates for elective county offices are filed with his office, as are Independent candidate petitions for any county or municipal seats, and all petitions for school board. 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. He is in charge of printing early voting and sample ballots for the primary and general elections, and receives applications for, and mails, all early voting ballots. The county clerk acts as clerk of the board of county canvassers and certifies official election results to the New Jersey Secretary of State. He prints voter registry lists and distributes same in accordance with election law. The Clerk’s Office is an acceptance agency for the Department of State and assists with the processing of passport applications. He appoints the Deputy Clerk and supervises special deputies and all other employees in the County Clerk’s Office.
The County of Sussex is an equal opportunity employer. For an employment application, please visit Sussex County’s Forms Center.