Assemblymember Phil Steck (D-Colonie) announced the Assemblys passage of (A7761/S630) that would reform the process for handling petitions for elected office. The bill which passed unanimously creates clearer, uniform statewide standards for the filing of objections to petition signatures, for the proceedings through which those objections are considered, and for the manner in which candidates are either removed or allowed to remain on the ballot.
Filing petitions to earn a spot on the election ballot is a critical perhaps the most critical hurdle for candidates seeking to serve their communities through elected office, Assemblymember Steck said. Currently, each separate county Board of Elections may create their own rules for how opponents may challenge the validity of these petitions. Most Counties have no rules at all. Candidates may never get notice that their petitions are being challenged unless they have the foresight to check with the Board of Elections. New candidates that do not have the benefit of experienced political staff may be taken by surprise and thus not have the ability to defend themselves against challenges to their petitions, which thwarts the will of the people who signed their petition to put them on the ballot. The bill requires that challengers to petitions put the candidate on notice that his or her petitions are being challenged.
You shouldnt have to hire a legal team to run for office, Steck continued. This bill will improve the process, make it easier to participate, and bring greater equality of opportunity to our politics.