Temporarily Reduces Number of Signatures Required for Petitions by 25 Percent for Candidates Running for Office
Reduces Petition Signature Requirement for Party Positions to 3 Percent of Enrolled Voters of the Party
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed two pieces of legislation to increase ballot access for candidates running for public office following the recent change in New York's primary election date. The first bill (A.2570/S.2862) temporarily reduces the number of signatures required on designating petitions by 25 percent for candidates running for public offices to be filed in 2019. The second bill (A.2693/S.2699) reduces the petition signature requirement for ward, town, city, or county party committees to 3 percent of enrolled voters of the party.
"New York has made significant progress in modernizing our voting laws and ensuring fairness in our electoral system with the passage of key legislation this year," Governor Cuomo said. "These changes further our progress by easing the burden for potential candidates who may not have had the chance to adjust to earlier petition dates this election, helping to ensure that candidates who want to run for office have the chance to do so."
“As someone who has run for every level of elective office in 11 elections, I know firsthand the challenges involved in securing signatures, especially if the timeframe is shortened,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “These bills will ensure that no candidate is hindered by the voting reforms that are going into effect this year. The goal is to make the democratic process open to all New Yorkers.”
On January 24, Governor Cuomo signed legislation reunifying state, local and federal (non-presidential) primary elections to be held on the 4th Tuesday in June, effective immediately. Because of the imminent changes in the political calendar necessary to meet the requirements for a June primary, candidates for local offices in 2019 may be unable to obtain the amount of signatures required to appear on the ballot. These bills will temporarily reduce those signature requirements, ensuring ballot access for candidates in the 2019 elections.
Senator Jamaal T. Bailey said, "Encouraging civic engagement is crucial and important in order to increase participation in government. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for signing my bill, S2699 into law. This bill will decrease the number of required signatures for the county committee and make it easier for New Yorkers to get involved in our political process at the grassroots level."
Senator Rachel May said, "Thank you to Governor Cuomo for signing this bill so quickly. New York is now a leader in building a thriving democracy. The elections reforms that we enacted in January make it dramatically easier for New Yorkers to vote. Now, this bill will ease the way for candidates and elections officials to navigate the new elections landscape in New York State."
Assembly Member Billy Jones said, "The earlier than anticipated deadline for petition signatures this year posed a significant hurtle to many local candidates. This temporary reduction in signatures ensures that persons interested in serving their community will be able to secure ballot access, and I was proud to introduce this legislation."
Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz said, "It is more important than ever that we take steps to include New Yorkers in the political process. By lowering the signature requirement for county committee I am confident that many new people will become politically engaged and participate in our democracy. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing our bill into law."