On certified appeal from the Law Division of the Essex County Court.
For affirmance -- Chief Justice Vanderbilt, and Justices Heher, Oliphant, Wachenfeld, Burling, Jacobs and Brennan. For reversal -- None. The opinion of the court was delivered by Vanderbilt, C.J.
The plaintiff was a candidate for the office of ward councilman from the East Ward of Newark at the city election to be held on May 11, 1954 for the selection of a mayor, four councilmen at large and five ward chairmen, one of whom is to be chosen from each of the five wards set up for that purpose under the Mayor-Council Plan C of the Faulkner Act, N.J.S.A. 40:69 A -55 to 40:69 A -60.
In his petition for nomination the plaintiff gave as his address 168 Adams Street in the East Ward, but the superintendent of elections ruled that his residence was at 96 Pomona Avenue in the South Ward and that he would strike the plaintiff's name as a registered voter at the Adams Street address. The plaintiff did not contest the decision of the superintendent of elections.
Contending that a candidate for ward councilman does not have to be a resident of the ward in which he seeks nomination, the plaintiff brought suit in the Essex County Court against the City Clerk of Newark, seeking a declaratory judgment on the question. The defendant moved for summary judgment, which was granted. The plaintiff appealed to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court and because
of the public importance of the issue and the necessity for a speedy decision we certified the appeal on our own motion.
The appellant contends that there is no provision in law requiring candidates for the office of ward councilman to reside in the ward from which they are elected, notwithstanding the language of the Faulkner Act pertinent to this particular election:
"They shall be elected at large and by wards at a regular municipal election in the following manner: * * *
(d) in a municipality having five wards and nine councilmen, one councilman shall be elected from each ward and four at large." (Italics supplied) N.J.S.A. 40:69 A -59.
The applicant contends that the italicized words refer only to the electorate in a designated geographical unit and not to the residence of the candidate, but this is a strained construction which does not comport with the design of the particular type of government adopted in Newark under the Faulkner Act. The Mayor-Council Plan C is intended to provide four councilmen at large representing the entire electorate of the municipality, as a United States senator represents his state, and five ward councilmen, each representing one of the new wards especially set up for the purpose of this election, N.J.S.A. 40:69 A -13, as a congressman represents his district. Not only would lack of residence in his ward by a ward councilman imperil the representation of the ...