How about a political class on this beautiful summer day. We are in the final days of what I call “petition week.” What do I mean by “petition?” While many people think candidates get on the ballot because they are endorsed at political conventions, in most NY races, that is not true. Outside of statewide and village races and some judicial campaigns, candidates have only one official way to get on the ballot for Election Day and that is to collect signatures on petitions. The NY Election Law requires that you obtain signatures of 5% of the registered voters in your district from a political party whose line you seek. Most candidates try to get about 10% to avoid any legal challenges. Therefore, since June 7, volunteers for candidates of all parties have been ringing door bells and asking voters to sign petitions that will get candidates on the ballot, and this Thursday is the deadline to file the petitions with the Board of Elections. For example, I need about 375 signatures this year for the Republican line, and on Thursday we hope to file close to 700 signatures.

If you are a registered voter in a political party and meet the 5% signature requirement, you are on the ballot. What about other political parties? If you wish to run with a party line besides your own, you must meet the 5% signature requirement and get permission from that party to run on its line. For example, the Conservative Party voted to allow me to run on its line this year, and we will also be filing signatures on Thursday for the Conservative Party.

If more that one candidate files petitions for a particular seat, they will face-off in a primary on September 13. For candidates without primaries, they go straight to the November 8 election.

Every candidate across party lines can agree on one thing – we are all so thankful for the great volunteers that have been carrying our petitions over the past five weeks. Many helpful and dedicated people have worked hard to get me on the ballot, and I just want to say – “Thank you so very much for your awesome help!” Also, thanks to the nice people that signed my petitions.

County Legislator
Jim Maisano
Minority Leader