Election Legislation Is Pending In The State Assembly

Legislation is awaiting the governor’s signature to reduce the number of signatures needed to be placed on an election ballot this year.

The legislation, A.2570 and S. 2862, would reduce by 25 percent the number of signatures candidates for office need to receive on a political party’s nominating petitions. The legislation is sponsored by Assemblyman Billy Jones, D-Syracuse, and Sen. Rachel May, D-Chateaugay, as a response to the outcry heard from local elections boards and possible political candidates to the earlier time frame to circulate and turn in petitions caused by state Elections Law changes approved earlier this year.

In a typical election year, local candidates would begin circulating petitions in June in preparation for a possible September primary. When New York moved its primary date from September to June to match up with the federal primary date, it resulted in earlier dates to circulate petitions.

Candidates can begin circulating petitions Feb. 26 and must turn them in to the Board of Elections by April 4.

“This bill would temporarily reduce the number of signatures required for designating petitions by one-quarter for candidates running for office, with the exception of New York City, in 2019 to allow candidates to organize their campaigns, print their petitions, and begin collecting voters’ signatures after the change in the primary date,” the legislation’s memorandum states.

If signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the legislation would sunset at the end of the year.

State Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, was one of six state senators to vote against the legislation. State Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, and Assemblyman Joseph Giglio, R-Gowanda, both voted in favor of the legislation on the floor of the state Assembly.