The Republican candidate for Passaic County sheriff has been removed from the ballot because he doesn’t meet a three-year residency requirement to hold the office.
Troy Oswald, a former Paterson police chief who had been a much-heralded recruit for the Republicans, lived in Sussex and Morris counties before registering to vote from a multi-family house in Clifton on January 3, 2022.
A little-known state law “requires a county sheriff to “have been a citizen of the United States and a resident of the county for at least three years next preceding his election.”
Daniel Ireland-Imhof, the county clerk, issued a ruling on Wednesday sustaining an objection to Oswald mounted by the Passaic County Democrats.
Oswald had acknowledged that he had not lived in Passaic County long enough to run.
Matthew Moench, an attorney representing Oswald, argued that the state law creating a three-year residency requirement for sheriffs was unconstitutional.
“There are no other provisions in the Constitution otherwise relating to the office of sheriff, let alone a residency requirement,” said Moench.
Moench said that the state’s founding fathers created one-year residency requirements for legislators.
“It is clear that if the drafters of the Constitution had wanted to include a residency requirement for the Constitutional officers, such as sheriff, they very well could have,” stated Moench. “However, no such requirements were proscribed and thus, the Legislature cannot add any such provisions without amending the constitution.”
It’s not immediately clear if Oswald will appeal the ruling of the Democratic county clerk.
Republicans can still nominate a candidate for sheriff – but not Oswald – if a candidate receives more than 100 write-in votes in the June 7 Republican primary.
Monmouth County Democrats are have lost their sheriff candidate for the same reason.