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Ballot access requirements for political candidates in New York

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This page contains extensive information about ballot access requirements for state and federal candidates running for elected office in the state of New York. Offices included are:

This page contains information on specific filing dates for each election year, how to become a candidate, how to create a political party, campaign finance requirements, state agency contacts involved in the election process, and term limits in New York. Information on running for election as a presidential candidate or for county and municipal offices is not included.

Note: If you have any questions or comments about this page, email us.

Year-specific dates

2015

See also: New York elections, 2015

There are no regularly scheduled state executive, state legislative or congressional elections in New York in 2015.

2014


Political parties

See also: List of political parties in the United States

As of February 2015, there were six recognized political parties in New York.[4]

Party Website link By-laws/platform link
Republican Party Official party website Party platform
Conservative Party Official party website Party platform
Democratic Party Official party website
Working Families Party Official party website
Green Party Official party website Party platform
Independence Party Official party website

In some states, a candidate may choose to have a label other than that of an officially recognized party appear alongside his or her name on the ballot. Such labels are called political party designations. A political party designation would be used when a candidate qualifies as an independent, but prefers to use a different label. New York does allow candidates to identify in this way. A total of 25 states allow candidates to use political party designations in non-presidential elections.[5][6]

The 11 states listed below (and Washington, D.C.) do not provide a process for political organizations to gain qualified status in advance of an election. Instead, in these states, an aspirant party must first field candidates using party designations. If the candidate or candidates win the requisite votes, the organization may then be recognized as an official political party. In these states, a political party can be formed only if the candidate in the general election obtains a specific number of votes. The number of votes required and type of race vary from state to state. Details can be found on the state-specific requirements pages.[7]

Process to establish a political party

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Article 6, Section 128 of the New York Election Law

In New York, a political party is defined as any political organization whose candidate for governor at the last preceding election polled at least 50,000 votes. New York is one of 11 states that do not provide a process for political organizations to gain qualified status in advance of an election. Instead, political organizations seeking party status must run a candidate for governor via the independent nomination process (see "Process to become a candidate" below for more information). The organization may denote its name on the nominating petition, which will then appear alongside the candidate's name on the ballot. The name selected must be rendered in English and cannot suggest similarity to an existing party or a political organization that has already filed. If at the general election the organization's candidate for governor wins at least 50,000 votes, the organization will then be recognized by the state as a political party. [8][9]

Procedural requirements

State laws stipulate that a party must form state and county committees. At their discretion and in accordance with their own rules, parties may also form other committees. Committees may prepare rules for governing the party within the committee's political unit (i.e., state or county). Within 10 days of adopting or amending any rule, a certified copy of the rule must be filed with the state board of elections and, in the case of county committees, the applicable county board of elections.[10][11]

First nominations by a newly recognized party

The first nominations made by a newly qualified political party (i.e., nominations for elections up to and including the first general election occurring after the party first qualifies) must be made by certificate of nomination, in accordance with the party's established rules. Certificates of nomination must be filed with the same office and in the same manner as designating petitions (see "Process to become a candidate" below for more information).[12]

Thereafter, provided it maintains qualified status, the party will make nominations for office via primary election.[13]

Maintaining party status

Political parties must field candidates for governor in each gubernatorial election who win at least 50,000 votes in order to maintain qualified status. In the event that a party's candidate for governor fails to win the requisite votes, the party must re-qualify for recognition.[8]

Process to become a candidate

Figure 1: This is the Designating Petition Form for candidates.

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Article 6 of the New York Election Law

For party candidates

Party candidates seeking access to the primary ballot must be nominated via designating petitions. The substance of the petition is established by statute and sample forms are provided by the New York State Board of Elections. A party may nominate a non-enrolled member by filing a certificate of authorization, signed by the presiding officer and secretary of the meeting at which such authorization is given. Only enrolled party members may sign a designating petitions. Signature requirements vary according to office. Generally speaking, a candidate must collect signatures equaling at least 5 percent of the active enrolled voters of the political unit (e.g., the state for statewide offices, such as governor; the legislative district for state senate or assembly districts; etc.) or a fixed total established by statute, whichever is less. The following table provides examples of signature requirements for 2014.[14][15][16][17][18]

2014 signature requirements[19][20][21]
Office 5% of the political unit's active enrolled voters Statutory total Lesser of 5% of enrolled voters or statutory total
Governor** 550,835 15,000 15,000
Attorney General** 550,835 15,000 15,000
Comptroller** 550,835 15,000 15,000
U.S. House District 1 22,344 1,250 1,250
State Senate District 1 10,255 1,000 1,000
Assembly District 1 4,227 500 500
**Designating petitions for statewide office must include signatures equaling either five percent or 100 total from each of one-half of the state's congressional districts (whichever is less).[14]

Designating petitions must be submitted to the appropriate county board of elections, with the following exceptions:[22]

  • If the political unit of the office being sought lies entirely within New York City, the petition must be filed with the city board of elections.
  • If the political unit of the office being sought comprises more than one county or portions of two or more counties, the petition must be filed with the New York State Board of Elections.

Designating petitions must be filed between the 10th Monday and ninth Tuesday prior to the primary election. A candidate must file a certificate of acceptance or declination of the designation no later than the fourth day after the last day to file designating petitions.[23]

On May 10, 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that extended the primary petition period from 37 to 42 days. The bill only applied to the 2014 election.[24]

Enrolled party members may also circulate petitions to allow for the opportunity to write in a candidate for an office for which there is no contest for the party nomination at the primary. These are called "opportunity to ballot" petitions and are substantially the same as designating petitions (i.e., the petitions are held to the same signature and filing requirements, etc.), except that they do not require a candidate to be named.[14][25]

For independent candidates

Independent candidates seeking access to the general election ballot must be nominated via nominating petitions. The substance of the petition is established by statute and sample forms are provided by the New York State Board of Elections.[14][26]

The group of voters making the nomination may designate a name for themselves, provided the name is rendered in English and does not suggest similarity with an existing political party or a political organization that has already filed a nominating petition.[9]

Signature requirements vary according to office. Generally speaking, candidates must collect signatures equaling at least 5 percent of the total number of votes cast for governor within the political unit at the last gubernatorial election or a fixed total established by statute, whichever is less. The following table provides examples of signature requirements for 2014.[27]

2014 signature requirements
Office Signatures required
Governor** 15,000
Attorney General** 15,000
Comptroller** 15,000
U.S. House District 1 5% of the total vote cast for governor within the district at the last gubernatorial election, not to exceed 3,500
State Senate District 1 5% of the total vote cast for governor within the district at the last gubernatorial election, not to exceed 3,000
Assembly District 1 5% of the total vote cast for governor within the district at the last gubernatorial election, not to exceed 1,500
**Designating petitions for statewide office must include 100 signatures from each of one-half of the state's congressional districts.[27][14]
***The signature requirement for statewide candidates is set by statute at a fixed total.[27]

Nominating petitions must be submitted to the appropriate county board of elections, with the following exceptions:[22]

  • If the political unit of the office being sought lies entirely within New York City, the petition must be filed with the city board of elections.
  • If the political unit of the office being sought comprises more than one county or portions of two or more counties, the petition must be filed with the New YorkState Board of Elections.

Nominating petitions must be filed between the 12th and 11th week prior to the general election. A candidate must file a certificate of acceptance or declination of the designation no later than the third day after the last day to file nominating petitions.[23]

Write-in candidates

A write-in candidates for president or vice-president must file a certificate of candidacy with the New York State Board of Elections. Write-in candidates for other federal or state offices do not have to submit any filing paperwork.[28]

Fusion voting

New York is one of eight states that allow "electoral fusion," meaning that more than one political party can support the same candidate. This can result in one candidate appearing multiple times on the same ballot for the same position. While electoral fusion was once widespread across the United States, it is now commonly practiced only in New York.[29]


Petition requirements

In some cases, political parties and/or candidates may need to obtain signatures via the petition process to gain access to the ballot. This section outlines the laws and regulations pertaining to petitions and circulators in New York.

Format requirements

The contents of candidate petitions are established by statute. Generally speaking, candidate petitions must include the following information:[30][31][32][33]

  • Date of the election
  • Name of the candidate and the office sought
  • Candidate's residential address and, if applicable, mailing or post office address
  • For each signer: signature, date of signing, and residential address

Voters are required to affix their signatures personally to the petition. Other information may be filled in by someone else. All pages must be sequentially numbered and securely fastened.[33][32]

If a petition contains more than 10 pages, a cover sheet must be included. Cover sheets must include the following information:[33]

  • Name, residential address (and mailing address, if applicable) of the candidate
  • Office sought
  • Name of the party or independent body making the nomination
  • A statement indicating that the petition contains signatures equal to or greater than the number required by law

Signature requirements

Voters are required to affix their signatures personally to the petition.[33]

Petitions must include a witness statement indicating that each signature made to the petition sheet was made in the presence of the witness. Only individuals qualified to sign a petition may serve as a witness to it.[33][34]

Objections

A registered voter can challenge the validity of a petition. General objections must be filed in writing within three days after the petition is filed. Specific objections must be filed within six of filing the general objections. For petitions filed with the State Board of Elections, challengers must serve the candidate with a copy of the specific objections and submit proof of serving such notice to the State Board of Elections.[33][35]

Campaign finance

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Article 14 of the New York Election Law

Candidates for statewide and state legislative office must disclose all campaign receipts and expenditures, including personal money, to the State Board of Elections. Candidates may comply with reporting requirements in one of three ways:[36][37]

1.) The candidate may choose to file on his or her own behalf.
The candidate is responsible for filing his or her own campaign finance reports. The candidate must also disclose the name and address of the bank at which he or she keeps the account used to conduct campaign financial activity. The candidate must file a "Candidate Campaign Finance Registration Form to Request NYSBOE Filer ID# and PIN (CF-04)" form.[36][37]
2.) The candidate may use an authorized committee to file reports.
A candidate may elect to authorize a committee to fulfill his or her campaign's finance filing requirements. The candidate must submit a "Candidate's Authorization for a Committee to Make All Campaign Financial Disclosures (CF-16)" form. Choosing to file in this way does not absolve the candidate of responsibility or liability for the campaign's financial activities. The CF-16 form must be submitted no later than 32 days prior to the first election for which the candidate would be required to file reports.[36][37]
3.) Both the candidate and authorized committee file reports.
Both the candidate and the authorized committee must register and file separate reports, although the candidate does not need to submit a CF-16 form if he or she elects to file reports in this manner.[36][37]

A candidate may claim an exemption from filing requirements if he or she has not and will not receive or spend more than $50 for campaign purposes (this includes personal funds). A candidate seeking this exemption must file a "Candidate or Committee Claim of Exemption from Filing Campaign Financial Disclosure Reports (CF-05)" form.[36][38]

An authorized candidate committee must file a "Committee Registration/Treasurer and Bank Information Form (CF-02)," which notes the committee's name, type, treasurer, bank or financial depository, and candidate supported. This form must be filed within five days of choosing a treasurer and depository and prior to receiving any contributors or making any expenditures. The committee must also submit a "Committee Authorization Status Form (CF-03)," which notes whether the committee has been authorized by the candidate the committee is supporting.[36][39][40]

Campaign finance reports must include the following types of information:[36]

  • Contributions
    • includes both monetary and in-kind contributions, as well as other receipts (interest payments, proceeds from a sale or lease, etc.)
  • Expenditures
    • includes payments made for goods or services rendered, reimbursements to individuals, and reimbursements for credit card expenses
  • Transfers
    • includes transfers between a party or committee and a candidate or his or her authorized committee
  • Loans, liabilities, refunds
    • includes loans received, loan repayments, loans or liabilities that have been forgiven, refunds (both those that increase cash balance, such as return of deposits, refunds from overpayment, etc., and those that decrease cash balance, such as refunded contributions)

When a contributor makes a contribution that is either greater than $99 by itself or causes the contributor's aggregate contributions for the election cycle to exceed $99, the contributions must be itemized and the contributor's name and address must be noted. When a single expenditure exceeds $49.99, it must be itemized and the name and address of the payee and the amount, date, and purpose of the expenditure must be noted.[36]

Campaign finance report filings must be made electronically either via diskette, CD, DVD or email attachment, using the State Board of Election's Electronic Filing System (EFS) software.[36]

There are three types of campaign financial disclosure reports that must be filed during each election (primary, general and special) in which the candidate or committee participates. These are detailed in the tables below.[36][41][42]

Campaign finance report dates for primary elections
Report type Deadline to file
First pre-primary report 32nd day prior to the primary
Second pre-primary report 11th day prior to the primary
Post-primary report 10th day following the primary
Campaign finance report dates for general and special elections
Report type Deadline to file
First pre-general/special report 32nd day prior to the election
Second pre-general/special report 11th day prior to the election
Post-general/special report 27th day following the election

When a contribution or loan over $1,000 is received after the cut-off date for the second pre-election report, a special notice must be filed within 24 hours of receipt.[36]

Contribution limits

An individual may contribute up to $150,000 in aggregate per calendar year, but candidates are subject to contribution receipt limits, which are detailed in the table below.[36][43] The table's last two columns indicate contributor type ("family" refers to the candidate's immediate family, not including the candidate's spouse).

Candidate contribution receipt limits
Office sought Election type Non-family limit Family limit
Statewide offices, such as Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller Primary Total number of active enrolled voters in the candidate's party in the state multiplied by $0.005 (at least $6,500, but no more than $19,700) Total number of active enrolled voters in the candidate's party in the state multiplied by $0.025
Statewide offices, such as Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller General $41,100 Total number of active enrolled voters in the candidate's party in the state multiplied by $0.025
State Senate Primary $6,500 Total number of active enrolled voters in the candidate’s party in the district multiplied by $0.25 (at least $20,000, but no more than $100,000)
State Senate General $10,300 Total number of active enrolled voters in the candidate’s party in the district multiplied by $0.25 (at least $20,000, but no more than $100,000)
State Assembly Primary $4,100 Total number of active enrolled voters in the candidate’s party in the district multiplied by $0.25 (at least $12,500, but no more than $100,000)
State Assembly General $4,100 Total number of active enrolled voters in the candidate’s party in the district multiplied by $0.25 (at least $12,500, but no more than $100,000)


Election-related agencies

See also: State election agencies

Candidates running for office may require some form of interaction with the following agencies:

  • New York State Board of Elections
Why: This agency provides and processes petitions for select congressional and state legislative offices (contact county-level boards of election for further details; see below for contact information).[44]
40 Steuben St.
Albany, NY 12207-2108
Main phone: 518.474.6220
TDD/TYY: Dial 711

Counties

See also: Counties in New York

A candidate must file a number of documents with the county elections office in his or her home county. Individual county contact information can be found below.

Term limits

State executives

Portal:State Executive Officials
See also: State executives with term limits and States with gubernatorial term limits

There are no state executive term limits in New York.

State legislators

See also: State legislatures with term limits

There are no term limits placed on New York state legislators.

Congressional partisanship

Portal:Congress
See also: List of United States Representatives from New York and List of United States Senators from New York

Here is the current partisan breakdown of the congressional members from New York:

Congressional Partisan Breakdown from New York
Party U.S. Senate U.S. House Total
     Democratic Party 2 18 20
     Republican Party 0 8 8
TOTALS as of March 2015 2 26 28

State legislative partisanship

Portal:State legislatures

Here is the current partisan breakdown of members of the state legislature of New York:

Senate

Party As of March 2015
     Democratic Party 31
     Republican Party 32
Total 63

House

Party As of March 2015
     Democratic Party 105
     Republican Party 44
     Vacancy 1
Total 150


Recent news

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All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

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See also

External links

Official state and federal links

Forms

Other information

References

  1. Ballot Access News, "New York Will Have Different 2014 Petition Deadlines for Independent Candidates for U.S. House than for Other Office," January 27, 2014
  2. New York State Board of Elections, "Court Ordered Political Calendar for the 2014 Federal Primary and General Elections," accessed January 27, 2014
  3. New York State Board of Elections, "2014 Political Calendar," accessed June 24, 2014
  4. New York State Board of Elections, "New York State Voter Registration Form," accessed February 11, 2015
  5. State of New York 2008 Election Law, "Article 6, Title 1, Section 138," accessed December 5, 2013
  6. State of New York 2008 Election Law, "Article 7, Title 1, Section 104," accessed December 5, 2013
  7. E-mail consultation with ballot access expert Richard Winger in January 2014.
  8. 8.0 8.1 New York Election Law, "Article 1, Section 104," accessed February 13, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 New York Election Law, "Article 6, Section 138," accessed February 12, 2014
  10. New York Election Law, "Article 2, Section 100," accessed February 13, 2014
  11. New York Election Law, "Article 2, Section 114," accessed February 13, 2014
  12. New York Election Law, "Article 6, Section 128," accessed February 13, 2014
  13. New York Election Law, "Article 6, Section 110," accessed February 13, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 New York State Board of Elections, "Running for Elective Office," accessed February 13, 2014
  15. New York Election Law, "Article 6, Section 118," accessed February 13, 2014
  16. New York Election Law, "Article 6, Section 132," accessed February 13, 2014
  17. New York Election Law, "Article 6, Section 120," accessed February 13, 2014
  18. New York Election Law, "Article 6, Section 136," accessed February 13, 2014
  19. New York State Board of Elections, "Voter Enrollment by Congressional District, Party Affiliation and Status as of November 1, 2013," accessed February 13, 2014
  20. New York State Board of Elections, "Voter Enrollment by 41st Senate District, Party Affiliation and Status as of November 1, 2013," accessed February 13, 2014
  21. New York State Board of Elections, "Voter Enrollment by Assembly District, Party Affiliation and Status as of November 1, 2013," accessed February 13, 2014
  22. 22.0 22.1 New York Election Law, "Article 6, Section 144," accessed February 13, 2014
  23. 23.0 23.1 New York Election Law, "Article 6, Section 158," accessed February 13, 2014
  24. Ballot Access News, "New York Legislature Passes Bill Extending Primary Petitioning Period from 37 Days to 42 Days, for 2014 Only," May 10, 2014
  25. New York Election Law, "Article 6, Section 164," accessed February 13, 2014
  26. New York Election Law, "Article 6, Section 140," accessed February 13, 2014
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 New York Election Law, "Article 6, Section 142," accessed February 13, 2014
  28. New York Election Law, "Article 6, 153," accessed February 13, 2014
  29. Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, "More Choices, More Voices: A Primer on Fusion," October 2, 2006
  30. New York Election Law, "Article 6, Section 130," accessed February 14, 2014
  31. New York Election Law, "Article 6, Section 138," accessed February 12, 2014
  32. 32.0 32.1 New York Election Laws, "Article 6, Section 134," accessed February 14, 2014
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 33.4 33.5 New York State Board of Elections, "Running for Elective Office," accessed February 13, 2014
  34. New York Election Law, "Article 6, Section 132," accessed February 13, 2014
  35. New York Election Laws, "Article 6, Section 154," accessed February 14, 2014
  36. 36.00 36.01 36.02 36.03 36.04 36.05 36.06 36.07 36.08 36.09 36.10 36.11 New York State Board of Elections, "Campaign Finance Handbook 2013," accessed February 13, 2014
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 New York Election Law, "Article 14, Section 104," accessed February 13, 2014
  38. New York Election Law, "Article 14, Section 124," accessed February 13, 2014
  39. New York Election Law, "Article 14, Section 118," accessed February 13, 2014
  40. New York Election Law, "Article 14, Section 112," accessed February 13, 2014
  41. New York Election Law, "Article 14, Section 108," accessed February 13, 2014
  42. New York Election Law, "Article 14, Section 108," accessed February 13, 2014
  43. New York Election Law, "Article 14, Section 114," accessed February 13, 2014
  44. New York Board of Elections, "Running for Office," accessed December 5, 2013