Meredith, J.c.c. t/a (temporarily assigned).
This matter comes before this court on an order to show cause why plaintiffs should not be found to be duly elected and qualified Republican municipal and county committeemen from their respective districts in the Township of Bernards in Somerset County.
The facts have been stipulated by the attorneys for their respective parties.
Primary elections were held on June 8, 1971 in the Township of Bernards. No persons had been nominated by petition for the position of Republican county committeewoman for District 3 or Republican county committeeman in District 2. On the above-mentioned date plaintiff Ella F. Filippone was elected by write-in votes in District 3 and plaintiff John J. Little elected by write-in votes in District 2.
Little became aware of the results on June 8 and Mrs. Filippone on June 9.
On or about June 10 the township clerk certified to the county clerk and to the county board of elections the names and addresses of the persons elected as members of the Republican county committee. By statute, N.J.S.A.
19:5-2, members of the municipal committee of political parties shall consist of members of the county committee resident in the respective municipalities.
On June 11 defendant William B. Wahl, chairman for 1970-71 of the Republican municipal committee for the Township of Bernards, became aware of the results of the election. At some time between June 8 and June 14 he solicited acceptances and party certifications from all the successful write-in candidates except the two plaintiffs. He also notified all the others of the hour and place of the annual meeting of the municipal committee, which took place June 14 at the Thompson Realty office.
Nonetheless, Little attended that meeting but Mrs. Filippone was not present. Wahl informed Little that the two offices were considered vacant because plaintiffs had not tendered a written acceptance by the previous Saturday, June 12. The municipal committee elected defendants O'Connor and Swenson to fill the vacancies.
On June 15 a certificate of election was issued to each of the plaintiffs, and before the Republican county committee met that evening both had filed a written statement of party affiliation with the secretary of that committee, as required by N.J.S.A. 19:23-54. Plaintiffs then placed their demand for their respective offices before this committee.
It is agreed that N.J.S.A. 19:5-2 provides that the members of the municipal committee take office the first Saturday following the day of the election. The statute further states that members of the municipal committee make up the membership of the county committee. Defendants contend that the reason for the requirement that the municipal committee meet six days after the day of election is to determine the committee membership. This step, they say, is necessary so that the county committee meeting on the seventh day can properly elect its ...