N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 2, Page 1378


THE GOVERNOR'S COMMITTEE ON PREPARATORY RESEARCH FOR THE New Jersey Constitutional Convention


THE GOVERNOR
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QUALIFICATIONS, ELECTION, TERM, VACANCY IN OFFICE, SUCCESSION

Time of Election

April of the presidential year. Of the 22 states having the two-year term, all elect the governor in the even-numbered years.5 The Book of the States, p. 560.

Writers on state government urge the use of the odd years in order to focus a greater amount of attention on state issues. W. Brooke Graves, for example, states:

"The holding of state elections to coincide with national elections is unfortunate, because it ordinarily means that little or no serious thought will be given to state problems. Citizens will vote for their preferences in national offices and will without much consideration support the same parties for the state offices, whereas the problems of government in any one of the states are large and significant enough to the well being of citizens to warrant a decision based upon their own merits. The selection of state officers should not be merely an incidental aspect of national party contests."6 American State Government, p. 368.

The "Model State Constitution" proposes that the election be held "in each alternate odd numbered year."7 Art. V, sec. 501.

Date of Taking Office

There is no uniform practice among the states as to the date of the governor's inauguration.8 The Book of the States, p. 560. The present provision in the New Jersey Constitution is similar to the 20th Amendment of the Federal Constitution in providing a short delay after the Legislature convenes before the Governor is inaugurated. This gives the Legislature an opportunity to resolve a contested election. The wording of Art. V, par. 3 - "The Governor shall hold his office for three years, to commence on the third Tuesday of January next ensuing the election for Governor by the people, and to end on the Monday preceding the third Tuesday of January, three years thereafter" - is less precise than the 1944 draft provision which called for the terms of the Governor and the Legislature to begin and end at noon on the second Tuesday of January. The "Model State Constitution" provides that the terms of the governor and the legislature shall begin on the first day of December.

Vacancy

A. Who Succeeds

New Jersey is one of 11 states having no lieutenant governor.9 Book of the States, p. 559. Georgia's new constitution provides for a lieutenant governor. Seven states, including New Jersey, name the presiding officer of the senate as the immediate successor to the governor; three name the secretary of state. In Maryland the General Assembly, if in session, elects a governor; if not, the President of the Senate serves until a governor is elected. Second successors are named in 44 states; 20 states name three specific successors. Only five states go beyond this number.10 TheCongressional Digest, March 1946, p. 75.


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