Tahesha Way serves as New Jersey’s 34th Secretary of State. Nominated for appointment by Governor Phil Murphy on December 18, 2017, Ms. Way was sworn in on February 26, 2018. As Secretary of State, Ms. Way holds one of the nation’s oldest constitutional offices and leads a department with a diverse portfolio. She serves as New Jersey’s top election official, overseeing the state Division of Elections and its work in securing our democracy and ensuring broad, fair access to the right to vote. Ms. Way also chairs New Jersey’s Complete Count Commission, a 27 member non-partisan commission established to encourage full participation in the 2020 Census. In addition to the critical work protecting what Secretary Way calls the “fraternal twins of democracy,” Ms. Way also oversees the state government offices supporting New Jersey’s vibrant arts, culture, history, and business communities.
Secretary Way belongs to the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), serving on the Executive Board as Treasurer, and previously serving as co-chair of NASS’s Heritage Committee and International Relations Committee. In 2019, she and nine of her colleague Secretaries from across the US traveled as a delegation to Israel for a trip focused on cultural, economic, civic engagement, democratic elections and technology. Ms. Way serves on the Advisory Council of the civic engagement non-profit “More Than A Vote,” and spearheads the New Jersey Ballot Bowl collegiate and high school competition and the Vote for Valor tribute initiative to further civic engagement and voter participation.
Throughout her career, Secretary Way has devoted herself to public service. Prior to becoming Secretary of State, Secretary Way was an Administrative Law Judge for the State of New Jersey. In 2006, Secretary Way was elected to the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders and served as the Freeholder Director in 2009. She served as special counsel for the Passaic County Board of Social Services overseeing all agency litigation. She also served as a council member for the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council. She is the former president of the Women Empowered Democratic Organization of Passaic County, an organization dedicated to empowering Democratic women by increasing their participation with the goal of achieving greater equality in the political process. Secretary Way also previously served on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a leading national think tank geared towards advancing dialogue and policy for improving women’s lives and their families.
Secretary Way is a graduate of Brown University, where she served as Vice President of the collegiate chapter of the NAACP, President of her Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, taught religious education, and was a radio announcer for WBRU-FM. Ms. Way holds a juris doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law at Charlottesville, where she clerked for the Virginia Legal Aid Society and the United Steelworkers of America.
Secretary Way lives in Passaic County with her husband, former New York Giant and NFL executive Charles Way, and their four daughters. Secretary Way has been a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association, Garden State Bar Association, National Association of Women Judges, Association of Black Women Lawyers, Passaic County Bar Association, and the New Jersey Women’s Lawyers Association.