Chair’s March Message

The latest from Jim Gustafson

Believe it or not, it’s almost spring and it’s definitely petitioning season, starting on March 2nd and ending on March 19th. We need to collect signatures to put many of our candidates on the ballot for this November. I know there is a lot of concern about petitioning in the pandemic. There is some good news regarding our concerns.

First the state has lowered the signature requirements by 70%, so we only need 30% of the usual number. Secondly, the state also made it possible for the TCDC to extend our terms by one year so we don’t need to collect signatures for our committee seats. This will considerably simplify the petitioning process for all of us.

As some of you know, there is an election currently taking place in the city to fill Anna Kelles’ seat on the County Legislature. There are two candidates (Leslie Schill and Veronica Pillar) who both collected well over 150 signatures with minimal difficulty. They share observations from their experiences below:

  1. Knock on the door and then retreat back down the stairs to provide space when someone opens the door (while remaining visible so the voter knows you are still there)
  2. Wear gloves
  3. Bring a box of new/sanitized pens so you can offer fresh pens to people who are not using their own pens.  You can offer that people can keep the pen when they finish or take the pen back, keep it in a separate bag and then sanitize later before reusing.
  4. Both candidates found that the vast majority of people in Fall Creek were willing to sign after answering their door.  However, one candidate pointed out that when she was knocking on doors that people often looked out their front door, disappeared without a gesture, then came back some time later wearing a mask.

The TCDC has authorized your local chairs to purchase pens and safety supplies to make the petitioning safe. The petitions and instructions are available online so you can print out your own copies. For those who can’t print them your chairs will see that you get yours copies. Your chairs will also get you household voter lists.

Please remember to carry the petitions for your county legislative candidates and the 6th Judicial District Delegate petitions, as well as for your local candidates and return your petitions to your local chair by March 19th.


Posted in Tompkins County.