RUNNING FOR OFFICE
NOTE: The information contained here is intended to provide general guidance for those who are preparing to circulate petitions, and is not to be used as a substitute for consulting the Election Law for specific petition requirements.
Persons wishing to run for elective office may be nominated either by a political party or through the filing of an independent nominating petition. Party members may also circulate petitions to create the opportunity to write in the name of an unspecified person for an office in which there is no contest for the party endorsement. The current political parties are the Republican, Democratic, Independence, Conservative and Working Families parties. Any person who is not nominated by one of these parties must file an independent nominating petition. The requirements for all petitions are contained in Article 6 of the Election Law. The provisions for village elections vary slightly, and the reader is directed to Article 15 of the Election Law for specifics.
Party nomination of candidates for elective office is made at either a party caucus or at a primary election.
A caucus is an open meeting of a town or village's political party at which candidates are nominated for elective office. Only residents of the town or village who are enrolled members of the party may participate in the caucus. For further information on caucuses see, Election Law §6-108 (towns) and §15-108 (villages).
If a party nominates its candidates through the primary election process, party designations for this primary are made on a designating petition. The Election Law sets forth the form of this petition; §6-132 (state, county and town offices) and §15-108 (village offices). Only enrolled members of a party qualified to vote for an office may sign designating petitions of the party.
Nomination of Non-Party Member
Political parties may nominate a candidate who is not an enrolled member of the political party. Such parties must file a certificate of authorization, signed and acknowledged by the presiding officer and the secretary of the meeting at which such authorization is given. A certificate of authorization is not needed for nominations resulting from a caucus or for a candidate for a judicial office.
To run for office on a line other than an official party line, one must file an independent nominating petition. The Election Law sets forth the form of this petition; §6-140 (state, county and town offices) and §15-108 (village offices). Any registered voter who has not already signed a designating petition, and who is qualified to vote for an office, may sign an independent nominating petition for that office. For Village offices if you participated in a caucus, you cannot sign an independent nominating petition.
Form of Petitions
The statute requires that all petitions be substantially in the form set forth in the law. See, Election Law §6-132 (party designating petitions), §6-140 (independent nominating petitions) and §15-108 (village designating and independent petitions). Deviations or slight rearrangements of the form of petition are not fatal defects, provided that the petition contains all of the required information.
Each sheet of the petition must correctly set forth:
A petition may include a committee on vacancies. Failure to provide such a committee, or naming a committee of fewer than three persons, will not invalidate the petition.
The voter need only sign the appropriate line on the petition sheet. All other information may be filled in by someone else. Corrections may be made to any information on the signature line. However, corrections or alterations in the date or the signature MUST be initialed by the person making the correction.
Voters may not sign a petition for more candidates than there are openings for an office. For example, if there is one council seat open, then the voter may only sign one petition for a candidate for that office. If there are 2 seats open, the voter may sign petitions for 2 candidates.
The pages of a petition must be sequentially numbered and securely fastened.
Witnesses to a Petition
Anyone who is qualified to sign a petition may witness a petition. The information required for the witness statement is mandatory. Omissions, errors, or unexplained alterations/corrections, may invalidate the entire page. When the witness signs the statement of witness, they are making an oath that subjects them to the penalties for perjury if any of the information preceding their signature is false. The information preceding the signature includes the name and residence of the witness; the number of signatures on the page; a statement that each person signed in their presence; and the date they are signing the statement. Witness identification information, which follows the witness's signature, may be provided by anyone, at any time before the petition is filed. This information includes the town or city; and the county of the witness's registration.
If there are 10 or more pages in a petition, there must be a cover sheet. In New York City, and in other counties where identification numbers are used, only one cover sheet is required, regardless of the number of volumes in the petition. In all other instances, a multi-volume petition requires a cover sheet for each volume.
Cover sheets must contain the following information:
The following information is optional:
There are additional requirements if the petition contains candidates for county committee, and if there are different candidates on the several pages of the petition. Those requirements are contained in Part 6215 of the rules and regulations of the State Board of Elections.
Pursuant to Part 6215 of the rules and regulations of the State Board of Elections, the Board will provide notice of any correctable errors in cover sheet(s) and binding.
Filing of Petitions, Acceptances, Authorizations and Declinations
All filings must be filed timely (See the Political Calendar) and in the proper manner at the appropriate board of elections. Pursuant to section 1-106(1) of the New York State Election Law, all papers are required to be filed between the hours of nine A.M. and five P.M. If the last day for filing shall fall on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, the next business day shall become the last day for filing. All papers sent by mail in an envelope postmarked prior to midnight of the last day of filing shall be deemed timely filed and accepted for filing when received, except any documents that are required to be filed with the board of elections of the city of New York must be actually received by such city board of elections on or before midnight of the last day to file any such document. Failure to do so shall be a fatal defect.
No filings will be accepted by facsimile or e-mail.
Candidates must file a certificate of acceptance for nominations made by independent nominating petitions, or if they are named in a designating petition but are not enrolled members of that party. Neither an authorization nor an acceptance is required if the individual is a candidate for a judicial office. A declination must be filed should the candidate decide not to accept the designation or nomination.
Every petition is presumed to be valid when filed, if, on its face, it appears to be in proper form and to contain enough signatures. However, a registered voter may challenge the validity of a petition. Written objections must be filed within 3 days after the petition is filed (1 day in a village election). Specifications of objections must be filed within 6 days of filing the general objections (2 days in a village election). For petitions filed with the State Board of Elections, objectors must deliver a copy of the specifications of objections to the candidate and file proof of such delivery with the State Board. For further details see Election Law §6-154 and §15-108 and Part 6204 of the rules and regulations of the State Board of Elections.
An independent candidate for president is someone who is running on a line other than an official party line. Petitions for independent candidates must include the names of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates, as well as the names of person(s) running for the electoral college. Each state is permitted to have one elector for each congressional district, plus two at-large electors.
Independent petitions for president must contain 15,000 signatures. At least 100 signatures must come from each of one-half of the congressional districts in the state. Election Law §6-142(1). Each candidate named in an independent petition for president is required to file an acknowledged acceptance of the nomination no later than the third day after the last day to file the petition. Election Law §6-146(1).
If there are 10 or more pages in a petition, there must be a cover sheet. A multi-volume petition requires a cover sheet for each volume. Cover sheets must contain the following information:
Additional information on cover sheets is contained in Part 6215 of the rules and regulations of the State Board of Elections.
To run as a write-in candidate for president, you are required to file a certificate of candidacy with the State Board of Elections no later than the third Tuesday prior to the general election. The certificate must be signed by the presidential candidate and must contain the following information:
See Election Law §6-153 for further information.
PETITION SIGNATURE REQUIREMENTS
Refer to the Official Political Calendar for petition signature requirements
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These forms can be printed and filled out by hand.
Electronic signatures are not acceptable.
WHERE TO FILE PETITIONS
PUBLIC OFFICE ONLY
WHERE TO FILE PETITIONS
MEMBER OF STATE COMMITTEE
REPUBLICAN, DEMOCRATIC, and INDEPENDENCE Party State Committee petitions are filed with the county boards of elections.
WORKING FAMILIES Party State Committee petitions, are filed in the same manner as those for the office of Member of Assembly (see chart for ASSEMBLY).
CONSERVATIVE Party State Committee petitions, are filed in the same manner as those for the office of Representative in Congress (see chart for CONGRESSIONAL).
Republican State Committee elections are held at the "Fall" primary in odd numbered years. All other parties elect state committee at the "Fall" primary in even numbered years.
To run for any party position such as member of state committee, national or judicial delegate or alternate, you must be a duly enrolled member of the party from which you are seeking the designation. You also must be a resident of the jurisdiction from which you are running.
The offices of judicial delegate and alternate judicial delegate are elected at the "Fall" primary. (National delegate and alternate national delegate are elected at the "Spring" primary, held in a presidential election year).
WHERE TO FILE PETITIONS
JUDICIAL DISTRICT CONVENTION DELEGATE AND/OR ALTERNATE DELEGATE
|FIRST JD||(New York County)|
|SECOND JD||(Kings and Richmond Counties)|
|ELEVENTH JD||(Queens County)|
|TWELFTH JD||(Bronx County)|
All petitions and nominations for these judicial district delegates and alternate delegates are filed at the New York City Board of Elections
N O T E
The following chart for Judicial Delegates and Alternate Delegates applies only to Democratic, Independence, Conservative and Working Families Party candidates. Republican Party candidates for this office file their petitions in the county which contains their portion of the assembly district.
THIRD JD Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schoharie, Sullivan & Ulster Counties
FOURTH JD Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren & Washington Counties
FIFTH JD Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Onondaga & Oswego Counties
SIXTH JD Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Madison, Otsego, Schuyler, Tioga & Tompkins Counties
SEVENTH JD Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne & Yates Counties
EIGHTH JD Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans & Wyoming Counties
NINTH JD Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland & Westchester Counties
TENTH JD Nassau & Suffolk Counties
§ 6201.2 Use of Public Opinion PollsNo candidate, political party or committee shall attempt to promote the success or defeat of a candidate by directly or indirectly disclosing or causing to be disclosed the results of a poll relating to a candidate for such an office or position, unless within 48 hours after such disclosure, they provide the following information concerning the poll to the board or officer with whom statements or copies of statements of campaign receipts and expenditures are required to be filed by the candidate to whom such poll relates:
(b) The name and address of the organization that conducted the poll.(c) The numerical size of the total poll sample, the geographic area covered by the poll and any special characteristics of the population included in the poll sample.
(d) The exact wording of the questions asked in the poll and the sequence of such questions.(e) The method of polling—whether by personal interview, telephone, mail or other.
(f) The time period during which the poll was conducted.(g) The number of persons in the poll sample: the number contacted who responded to each specific poll question; the number of persons contacted who did not so respond.
(h) The results of the poll.
Designating and Independent Nominating Petitions
§ 6204.1 Specification of objections to designating and independent nominating petitions.
(b) No specifications of objections to any petition will be considered by the Board unless the objector filing the specifications personally delivers or mails by registered or certified mail a duplicate copy of the specifications to each candidate for public office named on the petition. In the case of a petition containing candidates for party position, service of the specifications shall be made on either the named candidates or the first person named on the petition's committee to fill vacancies. Service shall be made on or before the date of filing of any specifications with the Board. Proof of service shall accompany the specifications or be received by the end of business two days following the filing of the specifications, whichever is later.
(c) Any notice and/or determination relating to a petition for which specifications of objections have been filed shall be transmitted by the Board to the objector filing the specifications, provided that any such objector may designate an attorney or agent to receive any such notice and/or determination on his behalf. Any such designation shall be in writing and include the name, address and telephone number of any such attorney or agent, and any such attorney and/or agent shall be eligible to represent any such objector in any proceeding conducted by the Board relating to the specifications.
Preparation, Delivery and Filing of Designating and Nominating Petitions
§6215.1 Rules for filing designating and nominating petitions.
a. The sheets of a petition shall be numbered sequentially at the foot of each sheet.
b. All petitions containing ten or more sheets shall be accompanied by a cover sheet.
c. Any two or more petition sheets shall be securely fastened together by any means which will hold the pages together in numerical order.
d. Petition sheets may be fastened together to form one or more volumes.
§6215.2 Cover Sheets
(b) Cover sheets shall be substantially in the form set forth in Section 6215.8, infra.
(c) Where a designating petition involves an office to be filled by the voters of the entire state, the petition shall be accompanied by a schedule which sets forth the volume and page number of each sheet on which signatures appear of at least 100 or 5 per centum, which ever is less, of properly enrolled voters in each of at least one-half of the Congressional Districts of the state.
(d) Where a nominating petition involves an office to be filled by the voters of the entire state, the petition shall be accompanied by a schedule which sets forth the volume and page number of each sheet on which signatures appear of at least 100 voters in each of at least one-half of the Congressional Districts of the state.
§6215.3 Identification Numbers, application, distribution and utilization
(a) Identification numbers shall be issued by the State and County Boards of Elections, without charge, for the purpose of identifying petition volumes.
(b) The State Board shall assign a series of identification codes to each County Board.
(c) Any person or persons, individually or jointly, may obtain one or more identification numbers, upon written application, from the Board of Elections. Individuals who do not wish to apply for these numbers in advance will have them assigned to their petitions when they are submitted to the Board of Elections in accordance with section 6215.6 (b) of these rules. Identification numbers may be used only within the calendar year for which issued.
(e) Upon receipt of an application for an identification number, the Board shall forthwith issue the quantity of identification numbers requested, inscribe such numbers on the original application, and record the numbers issued with the name and address of the applicant in a book which shall be available for public inspection. In the event that an application is filed by multiple applicants, the Board shall record in the book only the name and address of the first-named applicant.
(f) An assigned identification number may be used for the filing of petition sheets only by the person to whom the identification number was issued. In the case of multiple applicants, the identification number may be used by any of the applicants.
§6215.4 Multiple Candidates Named On a Petition
(a) All the signatures appearing in a petition volume shall apply to all candidates named in that volume, unless the cover sheet specifies otherwise.
(b) In the event that the same candidates do not appear on each and every sheet of the petition, then the cover sheet shall indicate which signatures apply to which candidate, by indicating the name of the candidate, the identification number or the volume number, and the page number of the applicable signatures. Signatures on such pages may be identified by specified numerical ranges (e.g., pages 1 through 15, pages 15-45).
§6215.5 Filing of petitions
(a) Neither the application for, nor the issuance of, an identification number constitutes filing of a petition.
(b) Petitions shall be filed with the applicable Board of Elections as set forth in the Election Law. The officer or Board shall endorse the day, hour and minute of receipt on such petitions. Such officer or Board shall keep a book, which shall be open to public inspection, in which shall be entered the name of the candidate, and volume or identification numbers of the petitions which have been filed and the time of their filing.
§6215.6 Construction of rules; substantial compliance
(a) Except as specifically set forth herein, these rules shall be liberally construed and technical defects shall be disregarded where there has been substantial compliance and where a strict construction is not required for the prevention of fraud.
(b) The failure to obtain an identification number or inscribe an identification number on one or more petitions or petition volumes shall not render any such petition or petition volume invalid. The officer or Board receiving such petition or petition volume shall assign identification numbers to such petition or petition volumes, shall inscribe the identification number upon the petition or volume, and shall record the identification number of such petition or volume. In such instances, the person or persons submitting the petition or petition volume for filing shall be deemed to be the applicant for the identification number, or in the event the persons submitting the petition or petition volume, cannot be identified, the candidates named on the petition or petition volume shall be deemed to be the applicant or applicants.
§6215.7 Determinations; cures pursuant to Section 6-134(2) of the Election Law
(a) Within two (2) business days of the receipt of the petition, the Board with whom such petition was filed shall review the petition to determine whether the petition complies with the cover sheet and binding requirements of these regulations. Such review shall be limited to matters apparent on the face of the documents. Such review, and such determination, shall be without prejudice to the determination by the Board of objections and specifications of objections filed pursuant to the provisions of the Election Law.
(b) In the event that, upon the review conducted pursuant to paragraph (a) above, the Board determines that a petition does not comply with these regulations, the Board shall forthwith notify the candidate or candidates named on the petition of its determination and the reasons therefor.
(c) Notification of a determination of noncompliance shall be given by written notice by depositing such notice on the day of such determination with an overnight delivery service, for overnight delivery, on the next business day, or by personal delivery by the day after the determination to the candidate or the contact person, if designated, at the address stated on the petition. Notification shall be given by overnight delivery or personal delivery only, unless the candidate shall have filed with the Board written authorization, signed by the candidate, for the Board to give notification by facsimile transmission. In the event that the candidate shall have authorized notification by facsimile transmission, then the Board shall notify the candidate or the contact person, if designated, by facsimile transmission on the day of the determination to the number set forth by the candidate and shall, in addition, mail a copy of the determination to the candidate.
(d) A candidate may, within three (3) business days of the date of a determination that the petition does not comply with these regulations, cure the violation of these regulations. Cover sheet deficiencies may be corrected by the filing of an amended cover sheet. Such cure or correction must be received by the Board of Elections no later than the third business day following such determination.
(e) If the petition is one for an opportunity to ballot, then the first named person on the committee to receive notices or applicant(s) for the identification number or numbers under which the petition was filed shall be deemed to be the "candidate" for purposes of subparagraphs (b), (c), and (d) above.
Please be aware that there may be other requirements which may apply to running for any particular office. These may include but not be limited to: