NY closer to lowering petition signature requirement for local candidates

The sponsors of legislation to temporarily ease the signature requirement for candidates in local elections this year hope Gov. Andrew Cuomo will take quick action when the measure is sent to his office in the coming days.

State Sen. Rachel May and Assemblyman Billy Jones authored the bill that would lower the number of signatures needed by 25 percent to qualify for the primary election ballot. The change, which would only apply to this year’s election, excludes candidates in New York City.

Jones, D-Chateaugay, and May, D-Syracuse, introduced the measure to address concerns about the new political calendar this year. In January, the state Legislature passed — and Cuomo signed — a package of election reforms. One of the bills moved the state and local primary to the fourth Tuesday in June.

While the goal of that legislation was to consolidate the federal and state primaries in presidential and midterm election years, it also resulted in the local primaries being moved beginning this year. To qualify for the primary in June, candidates will begin circulating petitions Tuesday, Feb. 26. Petitions are due by April 4.

It’s a significant change because in past elections, candidates didn’t start circulating petitions until early June for the September primary.

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