Independent Organization asks for similar reductions for minimums signatures for independent designating petitions as enjoyed by major parties

Albany, NY – Upstate Jobs Party (UJP) today called for a reduction in the minimum number of signatures required for independent designating petitions for candidates seeking elected office this year, given the widespread outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

Candidates seeking ballot lines with organizations that do not have automatic ballot status are required to gather triple the number of signatures for State Legislative positions. In this case, candidates would need to gather 1500 signatures to run as an independent candidate for State Assembly or 3000 for State Senate in a year that a Republican or Democrat needed only 150 or 300 signatures.

UJP Chair John Bullis said, “Given the already high signature requirements for independent petitions and the justifiable public health concern, we think a similar reduction in this minimum is fair and equitable to put independent candidates on the same footing as those with major parties.”

Just last week, Governor Cuomo rightly noted the challenges for candidates seeking office to gather appropriate signatures on their petitions given social distancing requirements. However, his executive order did not specifically note any changes for Independent petitions.

UJP is asking the Governor and Legislature to reduce the minimum signature requirements for independent candidacies on the same percentage as the requirements were reduced for the major party candidates. A proportional percentage reduction would still require independent petitions to deliver a higher number of petition signatures than the major parties. This measure of fairness is especially important, as the period for gathering signatures for independent candidates would typically be opening on April 14.

The current timing for petitioning for independent petitions puts candidates at a great disadvantage since this cycle is aligned with the expected height of COVID-19 restrictions. UJP urges consideration of even greater flexibility to address these unprecedented circumstances.

UJP Founder Martin Babinec said, “The combination of an unprecedented set of circumstances plus recent court decisions have already hindered independent bodies seeking to support candidates. At minimum, independent candidates should be afforded a similar relaxation of electoral requirements as was provided to major party candidates. The Governor’s executive order was a step in the right direction, but we believe that more should be done.”

About UJP

UJP is focused on building priorities around stemming the outflow of our young talent, getting government out of the way of investors and entrepreneurs, and fully reforming New York State government. In 2017, UJP supported independent candidate Ben Walsh, who successfully upset the political establishment by winning election as Syracuse Mayor on the UJP line. In 2018, UJP supported the candidacy of three state legislative candidates — all of whom were successfully elected. In local races in 2019, UJP supported seven candidates for local and County offices, with all but one being elected. Volunteers interested in joining the effort to create more jobs in Upstate NY, keep our best and brightest talent from leaving to pursue opportunities elsewhere, and build a strong economy throughout the region are encouraged to visit to learn more.

Media Contact
Timothy Dunn
Upstate Jobs Party