Why it’s Important to Sign Petitions for Candidates

Your Turn, Star-Gazette, Sunday, March 27, 2022

Jim Carr, Guest columnist

“It is petitioning season for political party candidates.

Every candidate running for office in New York must gather a certain number of signatures to get on the ballot. Petitioning is required under state election law to get on a ballot and run for office.

There are two kinds of petitions, designating and independent.

Designating petitions are carried by political parties and candidates to run on a party line. In order to run for office on a party line, petitions need to be signed by registered voters of that party. The time frame for carrying these petitions started on March 1 and ends April 7.

Independent petitions can be carried or signed by registered voters who have not witnessed or signed a designating petition. The time frame for independent petitioning starts April 19 and must be filed May 24-31 under section 158 (9) NYS Election Law.

Signature requirements for designating petitions under section 6-136 are 5% of the active enrolled voters of a political party in the political unit, i.e. legislative districts.

I decided to write this letter while collecting signatures for my wife and myself, who are running for reelection to the New York State Democratic Committee. State committee members are elected in a party primary every two years when there is more than one Democrat interested in serving. Otherwise, the county chair may appoint the most qualified person. This year’s primary is June 28, with early voting June 18-26.

While knocking on doors and asking for signatures, it was obvious to us that the voting public doesn’t understand election law — how candidates get on ballots, or why it is important to sign petitions in order to have choices on Election Day.

I have served on the New York State Democratic Committee since 2010, representing the Democrats in the 132nd Assembly District. This district includes the towns of Veteran, Catlin, Erin and Van Etten in Chemung County. My wife has served on the committee since 2020. We will be on the ballot in the Democratic Primary on June 28, with early voting at the Chemung County Board of Elections June 18-26.

Please remember to vote in the primary and general election on Nov. 8, with early voting Oct. 29 to Nov. 6. Voting is not only a right of every American, it is also a responsibility!”

For more information about elections, contact the New York State Board of Elections www.elections.ny.gov; the Chemung County Board of Elections, 378 S Main St., PO Box 588, Elmira, NY 14902; phone 607-737-5476 or go to www.chemungcountyny.gov

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