The municipal building in Bloomfield, N.J.

Bloomfield will see its second consecutive uncontested municipal election for mayor and three townwide council seats in 2022.

The re-election of incumbents Mayor Michael Venezia and council members-at-large Richard Rockwell, Wartyna Davis, and Ted Gamble were all but guaranteed when they won their party’s nomination to run after the June 2022 Democratic Primary.

Democratic or Republican candidates for mayor and council in Bloomfield are selected by party members in primary elections held in June. Democratic Party candidates are highly likely to win municipal elections in Bloomfield due to the overwhelming number of Democratic voters in the township – nearly 3 in 4 voted to elect the Democratic candidate for president in 2020.

While elections from the mayoral to the presidential may turn out 5,000 to 25,000 Bloomfield voters, the township’s 2022 Democratic Primary turned out approximately 2,600, just 14% of likely Democratic voters and 7% of registered voters in the township.

The Bloomfield Info Project is building pathways to civic participation for our community. And one of the many ways residents can get involved where they live is by running for office. So we’re publishing this guide to getting on the ballot for the Bloomfield mayoral or council elections in coordination with Democracy Day, a national journalism collaboration focused on sustaining and strengthening U.S. democracy.

Who are the Bloomfield mayor and council and what do they do?

Bloomfield, New Jersey, is governed by a mayor and a six-member town council. Three council members are elected “at-large,” or townwide, and the others are elected by voters in one of Bloomfield’s three wards.

The mayor and council serve as the governing body of the township. They approve budgets, hire employees, pass ordinances and resolutions, and liaise with boards and committees. They also hire and oversee the township administrator to manage the municipal government’s day-to-day operations.

Bloomfield’s mayor serves as a council person-at-large with additional authority, including a budget advisory role, oversight of council meetings, and the ability to veto ordinances and resolutions as allowed under state law.

The mayor and township council are unpaid and are elected to three-year terms. 

What is the election cycle for the Bloomfield mayor and council seats?

General elections for municipal office in Bloomfield are held on the first Tuesday of November. 

Bloomfield’s First, Second, and Third Ward council members serve for three-year terms. The most recent election for ward council seats was in 2021.

Bloomfield’s mayor and council people-at-large are elected for a three-year term the following year. That election is set for 2022.

Democratic and Republican primaries are held in June. And timelines depend on whether candidates seek to run in the primary or as an independent in the general election.

Why does Bloomfield have partisan elections for mayor and council?

Municipalities in New Jersey have partisan and non-partisan elections depending on how they were established. 

Non-partisan elections have candidates run without a party affiliation, like Bloomfield’s Board of Education election. 

Local governments with partisan elections have candidates run under party affiliations, requiring them to run in primaries or as independents in the general election. Bloomfield’s partisan elections are a part of its Special Charter form of government, one of 13 specially chartered municipalities in the state

What are the qualifications to run for mayor or council in Bloomfield?

Candidates must reside in Bloomfield and must be registered to vote in the township to qualify to run for mayor or councilperson-at-large.

Candidates running for a ward council seat must live in the ward they are running to represent.

How do I get on the ballot for Bloomfield mayor or council through the Democratic or Republican Party?

Residents interested in running for mayor or council in Bloomfield through the Democratic or Republican Party must gather signatures for a petition to get their name on the ballot for their party’s primary election.

Petitions become available at the Bloomfield Municipal Clerk’s office on Feb. 1 of the election year for those interested in running in Democratic or Republican primaries. Completed primary election petitions are due to the municipal clerk by 4 p.m. in early April, 64 days before the primary election.

Candidates must collect 50 signatures to run for mayor or at-large council seats and 25 signatures for council seats representing one of Bloomfield’s three wards to run in a party primary.

Candidates who qualify to run in a party primary can lobby party leaders for an endorsement or will need to run under their own slogan. 

Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia has chaired the Bloomfield Democratic County Committee since 2016, serving as the township representative to the Essex County Democratic Committee

Cedar Grove resident Al Barlas was re-elected to a four-year term as chairman of the Essex County Republican Committee in 2022. 

Who can sign my petition to run with the Democratic or Republican parties in the Bloomfield mayor or council?

Signatures must come from Bloomfield residents who are legally allowed to vote and registered under the same political party as the candidate collecting signatures. In addition, voters endorsing ward council candidates must also live in the ward the candidate is running to represent.

Residents can sign one petition for mayor, three at-large council candidate petitions, and one ward council candidate petition per election cycle.

Residents not registered with the Democratic or Republican parties or those switching from parties can sign the petition of a candidate of the party they intend to declare. But their signature will only be counted towards the candidate’s total number of signatures if the county has received the resident’s change of party form by the date the petition review begins.

How do I get on the ballot for Bloomfield mayor and council as an Independent candidate? 

Residents interested in running for mayor or council as an independent candidate must complete the petition process through the Essex County Clerk’s Office. 

Petitions become available for independent candidates in early April. They are due to the Essex County Clerk’s Office by 4 p.m. on the date of that year’s primary election in early June.

The number of signatures needed for an independent run for mayor or council is determined by the Essex County clerk. It varies year-to-year and is two percent of the number of people who voted in the last general election or 100 people – whichever is less.

Qualifying independent candidates appear on the ballot during the general election under their own slogan.

Who can sign my petition to run as an independent for Bloomfield mayor or council?

Independent candidates can collect signatures from Bloomfield voters of any party affiliation, including those not registered with a party.

Petition signers must also live in the ward the independent candidate is running to represent if they are running for a ward council seat.

For party primaries, voters can sign one petition for mayor, three at-large council candidate petitions, and one ward council candidate petition per election cycle.

Party-affiliated voters can sign petitions for independent candidates in addition to the petitions of candidates running in their party’s primary election.

Can I run as an independent candidate for Bloomfield mayor and council if I lose the Democratic or Republican primary?

Candidates that run as a Democrat or Republican during the primary election cannot then run as an independent candidate in that year’s general election.