Candidates’ petition process changes
Yates County Board of Elections explains new procedures for political candidates’ petition signing: remote candidate training session 4 p.m. Feb. 10
Every February and March, candidates for office and their political parties go door to door asking for voters’ signatures on designating petitions. In 2021, candidates get the right to compete with other candidates in their own party for town and county public offices. The primary election will be June 22 this year; winners of these primary contests and independent candidates will be on the ballot for the November general election.
Because of the threat of COVID-19, the state Legislature passed a bill last week that reduced both the time allowed to be out getting signatures and the number of signatures needed to be put on the ballot. All signatures need to be collected on petitions between March 2 and March 25, and the number of signatures required is reduced by two-thirds the normal amount.
Since the Yates County office buildings are open with limited access and the Board of Elections wishes to reduce traffic at its front counter, all of the essential guidance and forms for candidates can be obtained online at: www.yatescounty.org/306/Candidates. A candidate training session will be held at 4 p.m. Feb. 10 remotely on the Internet. The necessary link is posted on the webpage.
Candidates who are unfamiliar with the process of becoming a candidate and using the various forms to comply with state election law, rules and regulations are encouraged to call the Yates County Board of Elections at: 315-536-5135 and press zero to speak with any of the staff.
Outside of Yates County, many elected offices require huge campaign war chests. Campaigns consume large amounts of money advertising, and all of it must be raised by the candidates or their committee. To minimize unfair campaigns, the state has very stringent campaign finance regulations. For the most part, local campaigns here do not rise to the levels approaching the fiscal limits imposed by the state, but all candidates must carefully register and report. The process, once quite burdensome for town and county candidates, has been simplified this year.
In all, 57 local offices are open for election this year and a list can be found at www.yatescounty.org/312/Local-Offices-to-Be-Elected or by calling the Board of Elections. They include the county treasurer, county district attorney, 14 county legislators, and one coroner. At the town level, some but not all town supervisor, town clerk, town councilmember, town justice or highway superintendent positions are open. Typically, the incumbent officials will seek the opportunity to be re-elected.