Candidate petition signings to begin March 1

YATES COUNTY — The selection of candidates for state and federal office this year is expected to be settled in the June primaries. Democrats and Republicans are expected to field competing candidates this winter. Who will represent the party is up to the voters in two ways.

First of all, all candidates for open federal, state and local offices will be required to obtain voter signatures on their nomination petitions. This process will begin on March 1 this year provided there is no change in the draft political calendar of the state. As in recent years, due to the pandemic, several laws passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor have temporarily changed petition signing requirements. If the dates on the political calendar do not change, then candidates will have March 1 to April 7 to get signatures.

Second, candidates who have obtained a sufficient number of signatures and who have a challenger from their own party will be on the ballot in the primary elections during the last two weeks of June. Early voting will begin June 18, and Election Day is June 28. Voters, who are registered with the candidate’s party, can go to their polling place to vote on Election Day or the county building during early voting or use an absentee ballot to vote for their candidate. The winners of those primaries will be on the ballot in the general election in the fall.

Not all parties will have a primary. In the unlikely event that there are no challengers, there is no need for a primary contest for that party. The gubernatorial race is packed with candidates from both major parties, Democrat and Republican. Also on the side of the Democratic Party, there is a possible contest for the attorney general. Other races, such as United States Senator, Congressman, New York Comptroller, New York Assembly, and New York Senate, are not as contested at this time and may not have a race primary. It is not until petitions are filed on April 7 that voters will know if there is more than one candidate in a party for any of these contests.

Today, the competition to become a member of the United States Congress is very uncertain. The requirement for states to reconfigure congressional districts every decade based on population census results means changes in New York State. Our population has shrunk since 2010 and the state will lose a congressional district. Various proposals have been submitted that will redraw Southern Tier and Finger Lakes counties as they are today. Until the final district map is adopted, congressional candidates cannot determine which district they live in and which district they will run in. The two major parties may or may not have primary contests.

In any case, it is important that voters, who want to sign petitions and vote in the primaries, declare their registration with the party. The deadline for party changes is February 14. After that date, anyone wishing to change their party registration can file the necessary form, but the change will not take effect until June 29. The Change of Registration Form is a voter registration form and they can be viewed online at the Board of Elections page on the Yates County website or at the State Board of Elections website ; in town halls, village halls, libraries, post offices; and at the Board of Elections in the Yates County Office Building.

If a voter is unsure of their current party registration, that information can be obtained from the Yates County Board of Elections in person at 315-536-5135-0. Also, if the voter was registered and voted in a different county or state and wishes to vote in the primaries in that county, they must submit the same registration form. Additionally, they can register to vote when they drop off their new or updated driver’s license.

The Board of Elections urges voters who wish to make changes to do so as soon as possible.

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