Cuomo signs bills reducing ballot signature requirements for 2019

Voters Guide
Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office

On February 20, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed two pieces of legislation that will increase ballot access for candidates planning to run for public office in 2019.

Earlier this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved a bill that will unify the state, local, and federal (non-presidential) elections to a single date, determined to be June 4th. This was a decision made to help taxpayers and voters alike, but it also provided a problem to candidates who planned on running for office in 2019.

By moving the state election to line up with the federal election, candidates running for public office in New York were left with little time to collect petition signatures that are necessary to be placed on the voting ballot.

In response, Cuomo and other lawmakers have taken this into consideration and proposed a solution to the issue.

“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,” 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.”

The first of the two bills temporarily reduces the number of signatures required on designating petitions by 25 percent in the 2019 election, not including candidates that are running in New York City.

The second bill is directed toward those running for ward, town, city or county party committees, and reduces the signature requirement to 3 percent of enrolled voters of the party.

“By lowering the signature requirement for county committee I am confident that many new people will become politically engaged and participate in our democracy,” said Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, D-Bronx, one of the bills’ sponsors.