New York is adjusting June primary election protocols — reducing the number of signatures required for ballot qualification — in a concession to coronavirus restrictions.
By executive order, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is trimming the number of signatures prescribed for qualification on the primary ballot by 70% and suspending the candidate petition process at 5 p.m. Tuesday for congressional, state Senate, state Assembly and judicial races for the June 23 primary.
"This executive order modifies the election process in a way that both protects public health and ensures the democratic process remains healthy and strong regardless of the ongoing pandemic," Cuomo said Saturday.
The action was endorsed by state GOP chief Nick Langworthy, who said partisan politics are being cast aside for the public health crisis.
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For Congress, candidates would need 375 signatures rather than 1,250. For State Senate, candidates would need 300 signatures rather than 1,000. For Assembly, candidates would only need 150 signatures rather than 500, according to governor's executive order.
Also, deadlines for absentee ballots in the Queens Borough president special election have been modified. The deadline to register to vote absentee is extended to March 23. Absentee votes must be postmarked or delivered in person up until the day of the election on March 24.
"Public health experts have been clear that one of the most common ways to communicate COVID-19 is through direct person to person contact, and we are doing everything in our immediate power to reduce unnecessary interactions," Cuomo said
Party primaries for state and congressional offices are scheduled for June 23 with early voting from June 13 to June 21.
The New York presidential primary is scheduled for April 28 with early voting from April 18 through April 26.
Jeff Platsky covers transportation and the economy for the USA TODAY Network New York. He can be reached at JPLATSKY@Gannett.com and followed on Twitter: @JeffPlatsky