Overview

The information contained here is intended to provide general guidance for those who are preparing to circulate petitions, and is not to be used as a substitute for consulting the Election Law for specific petition requirements.

Persons wishing to run for elective office may be nominated either by a political party or through the filing of an independent nominating petition. Party members may also circulate petitions to create the opportunity to write in the name of an unspecified person for an office in which there is no contest for the party endorsement. The current political parties are the Democratic, Republican, Conservative, and Working Families parties. Any person who is not nominated by one of these parties must file an independent nominating petition. The requirements for all petitions are contained in Article 6 of the Election Law. The provisions for village elections vary slightly, and the reader is directed to Article 15 of the Election Law for specifics.

View Running for Office Guidance

Sample Forms

These sample forms were prepared by the State Board of Elections. They are all in Acrobat PDF format. You will need the Adobe (TM) Acrobat Reader to view and print them.

These forms can be printed and filled out by hand. Electronic signatures are not acceptable.

Party Nominations

Party nomination of candidates for elective office is made at either a party caucus or at a primary election.

Caucuses

A caucus is an open meeting of a town or village's political party at which candidates are nominated for elective office. Only residents of the town or village who are enrolled members of the party may participate in the caucus. For further information on caucuses see, Election Law §6-108 (towns) and §15-108 (villages).

Designating Petitions

If a party nominates its candidates through the primary election process, party designations for this primary are made on a designating petition. The New York State Election Law sets forth the form of this petition; § 6-132 (state, county and town offices), § 6-204 and § 15-108 (village elections). Only enrolled members of a party qualified to vote for an office may sign designating petitions of the party.

Nomination of Non-Party Member

Political parties may nominate a candidate who is not an enrolled member of the political party. Such parties must file a certificate of authorization, signed and acknowledged by the presiding officer and the secretary of the meeting at which the authorization is given. A certificate of authorization is not needed for nominations resulting from a caucus or for a candidate for a judicial office. Candidates not enrolled in the party nominating them must file an acceptance.

Independent Nominations

To run for office on a line other than an official party line, one must file an independent nominating petition. The New York State Election Law sets forth the form of this petition; § 6-140 (state, county and town offices), § 6-206 and § 15-108 (village elections). Any registered voter who has not already signed a designating petition, and who is qualified to vote for an office, may sign an independent nominating petition for that office. For Village offices if you participated in a caucus, you cannot sign an independent nominating petition.

Form of Petitions

The statute requires that all petitions be substantially in the form set forth in the law. See New York State Election Law § 6-132 (party designating petitions for state, county and town offices), § 6-140 (independent nominating petitions for state, county and town offices), § 6-206 (independent nominating petitions for village offices administered by a County Board of Elections) and § 6-204, § 6-206 and § 15-108 (village petitions). Deviations or slight rearrangements of the form of petition are not fatal defects, provided that the petition contains all of the required information.

Each sheet of the petition must correctly set forth:

  • the date of the election;
  • the name of the candidate and the office or position sought, including district number, if any;
  • the candidate's residence, and if different, their mailing or post office address;
  • information about the signer: date of signing, voter's residence address, town or city and
  • information relating to the person who witnesses the signatures.

 

A designating or independent nominating petition may include a committee on vacancies. Failure to provide such a committee, or naming a committee of fewer than three persons, will not invalidate the petition.

An opportunity to ballot petition must include a committee to receive notices. All individuals appointed to serve on such a committee must also file a certificate of acceptance.

The voter need only sign the appropriate line on the petition sheet. All other information may be filled in by someone else. Corrections may be made to any information on the signature line. However, corrections or alterations in the date or signature MUST be initialed by the person making the correction.

Voters may not sign a petition for more candidates than there are openings for an office. For example, if there is one council seat open, then the voter may only sign one petition for a candidate for that office. If there are 2 seats open, the voter may sign petitions for 2 candidates.

The pages of a petition must be sequentially numbered and securely fastened.

Witnesses to a Petition

The information required for the witness statement is mandatory. Omissions, errors, or unexplained alterations/corrections, may invalidate the entire page. When the witness signs the statement of witness, they are making an oath that subjects them to the penalties for perjury if any of the information preceding their signature is false. The information preceding the signature includes the name and residence of the witness; the number of signatures on the page; a statement that each person signed in their presence; and the date they are signing the statement. Witness identification information, which follows the witness's signature, may be provided by anyone, at any time before the petition is filed. This information includes the town or city; and the county of the witness's registration.

Witness to Party Designating Petition

A person is eligible be a witness to a designating petition if the person is:

  • a qualified voter of the state, and
  • enrolled in the same party as the persons qualified to sign the designating petition, and
  • has not previously signed any petition for another candidate for the same office.

Witness to Independent Nominating Petition

A person is eligible be a witness to an independent nominating petition if the person is:

  • a duly qualified voter of the state, and
  • has not previously signed any petition for another candidate for the same office.
  • Additionally, pursuant to court order, an individual who does not meet the criteria above, but who is (1) a United States citizen who satisfies the requirements to register to vote in New York, but who is not so registered, or (2) a United States citizen who would satisfy the requirements to register to vote in New York if that witness were a New York resident, may sign a statement appended at the bottom of each sheet of signatures witnessed, and will be subject to the same penalties if it contains a material false statement. Please see below for more information.

Requirements For Non-Resident or Non-Registered Independent Nominating Petition Witnesses

Pursuant to the preliminary injunction granted by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Schmidt v. Kosinski, the witness requirements for Independent Nominating Petitions have changed. Please see below for the new requirements.

Court Decision Requirements For Non-Resident or Non-Registered Independent Nominating Petition Witnesses

An individual who is not qualified to act as a witness to signatures on Independent Nominating Petitions under current New York law, and who is (1) a United States citizen who satisfies the requirements to register to vote in New York, but is not registered, or (2) a United States citizen who would satisfy the requirements to register to vote in New York if that witness were a New York resident, may act as a witness if, the individual signs the statement below and appends it to the bottom of each sheet of signatures witnessed. Signing the statement will subject the signer to the same penalties as a signer of the witness statement if it contains a materially false statement.

The statement required by the injunction shall be substantially as follows and shall be appended to the bottom of each sheet of signatures witnessed:

STATEMENT OF WITNESS

I,______________ (name of witness) state: I am a citizen of the United States of America who is duly qualified to register to vote in the State of New York but not so registered, or who would be duly qualified to register to vote in the State of New York if I were a New York resident, and I consent to the jurisdiction of the courts of New York in resolving any disputes concerning the witnessing of petition signatures. I further consent to service of the subpoena on a person of suitable age and discretion at the following New York address, which may be considered my actual place of business for this purpose.

Address: ______________________

Each of the individuals whose names are subscribed to this petition sheet containing _____ (fill in number) signatures, subscribed the same in my presence on the dates above indicated and identified himself or herself to be the individual who signed this sheet. I understand that this statement will be accepted for all purposes as the equivalent of an affidavit and, if it contains a materially false statement, shall subject me to the same penalties as if I had been duly sworn.

Date: ___________________ Signature of Witness: ____________________
 

The New York State Board of Elections or a local board of elections under its direction (meaning, the New York City Board of Elections, a board of elections of any county outside of New York City, or the clerk of any village) (collectively, a “Local Board”), as the case may be, may treat as invalid any signatures on a Nominating Petition that are witnessed by an individual who is not otherwise qualified under current New York law and who fails to complete and sign such a statement.

If an individual who has signed such a statement is properly served with a subpoena to provide evidence in an action regarding the witnessing of petition signatures and fails to appear or produce documents as provided for in the subpoena, and upon sufficient proof of the same, all signatures purportedly witnessed by that individual shall be deemed invalid. Upon presentation of such a finding by a court of this state, the New York State Board of Elections shall remove, or deem removed, any signatures purportedly witnessed by such an individual from a filed Nominating Petition, or shall direct the Local Board to do so.

Cover Sheets

If there are 10 or more pages in a petition, there must be a cover sheet. In New York City, and in other counties where identification numbers are used, only one cover sheet is required, regardless of the number of volumes in the petition. In all other instances, a multi-volume petition requires a cover sheet for each volume.

Cover sheets must contain the following information:

  • Name, residence address, and mailing address if different, of the candidate.
  • The public office or party position sought, including district number, if any.
  • The name of the party or independent body making the nomination.
  • A statement that the petition contains a number of signatures equal to or in excess of the number required by statute.
  • The volume number OR identification number of that volume.
  • The total number of volumes in each petition OR the identification number for each volume of the petition.

The following information is optional:

  • The name, residence address, (and mailing address if different) telephone number, fax number and email address of the person designated to receive notice of deficiencies in binding or cover sheet requirements.
  • For candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, State Comptroller, Member of State Assembly or Member of State Senate: such candidates may notify the State Board of Elections of her or his campaign website address on the cover page of the petition or in a separate piece of correspondence. The State Board will publish such addresses on its website prior to the election. See New York State Election Law § 4-123.

There are additional requirements if the petition contains candidates for county committee, and if there are different candidates on the several pages of the petition. Those requirements are contained in Part 6215 of the rules and regulations of the State Board of Elections.

Pursuant to Part 6215 of the rules and regulations of the State Board of Elections, the Board will provide notice of any correctable errors in cover sheet(s) and binding.

Filing of Petitions, Acceptances, Authorizations, Declinations and Substitutions

All filings must be filed timely and filed in the proper manner at the appropriate board of elections. Pursuant to section 1-106(1) of the New York State Election Law, all papers are required to be filed between the hours of nine A.M. and five P.M. If the last day for filing shall fall on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, the next business day shall become the last day for filing.

Except where otherwise required to be “received by” a date certain, all certificates and petitions of designation or nomination, certificates of acceptance or declination of such designations or nominations, certificates of authorization for such designations or nominations, certificates of disqualification, certificates of substitution for such designations or nominations and objections and specifications of objections to such certificates and petitions required to be filed with the State Board of Elections or a board of elections outside of the City of New York shall be deemed timely filed and accepted for filing if sent by mail or overnight delivery service, in an envelope postmarked or showing receipt by the overnight delivery service prior to midnight of the last day of filing, and received no later than two business days after the last day to file such petitions, certificates, objections or specifications shall be a fatal defect. See New York State Election Law § 1-106.

Within NYC: all such certificates, petitions and specifications of objections required to be filed with the Board of Elections of the City of New York must be actually received on or before the last day to file. The New York City Board of Elections is open for the receipt of such petitions, certificates and objections until midnight on the last day to file.

Failure to timely file documents shall be a fatal defect.

No filings will be accepted by facsimile or e-mail.

Candidates must file a certificate of acceptance for nominations made by independent nominating petitions, or if they are named in a designating petition but are not enrolled members of that party. Neither an authorization nor an acceptance is required if the individual is a candidate for a judicial office. All individuals appointed to a Committee to Receive Notices on an Opportunity to Ballot petition must also file a certificate of acceptance.

Declinations and Substitutions

A declination must be filed should the candidate decide not to accept the designation or nomination. A certificate of declination of a designation shall be filed not later than the fourth day after the last day to file such designation. A certificate to fill a vacancy (substitution) in a designation caused by declination shall be filed not later than the fourth day after the last day to decline. See Election Law § 6-148 for more information on filling vacancies in a designation or nomination.

Objections

Every petition is presumed to be valid when filed, if, on its face, it appears to be in proper form and to contain enough signatures. However, a registered voter may challenge the validity of a petition. Written objections must be filed within 3 days after the petition is filed (1 day in a village election). Specifications of objections must be filed within 6 days of filing the general objections (2 days in a village election). For petitions filed with the State Board of Elections, objectors must deliver a copy of the specifications of objections to the candidate and file proof of such delivery with the State Board. For further details see Election Law § 6-154 and §15-108 and Part 6204 of the rules and regulations of the State Board of Elections.

Signature Requirements

The following documents list State Senate District and State Assembly District signature requirements for designating petitions, based on active voters in the district, as of February 21, 2024.

Signature requirements for Congressional Districts will be released once the district maps are finalized.

Where to File

Find information on where to file petitions for Statewide Office, Congressional Districts, State Senate, State Assembly, State Committee, and Judicial District Convention.

WHERE TO FILE PETITIONS

Running for President

Independent Candidates

2024 NYS Presidential Primary Ballot Access

An independent candidate for president is someone who is running on a line other than an official party line. Petitions for independent candidates must include the names of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates, as well as the names of person(s) running for the electoral college. Each state is permitted to have one elector for each representative in Congress (26 U.S. House of Representatives and 2 U.S. Senators).

The requirement for signatures for an independent nominating petition for candidates to be voted for by all of the voters of the state must contain 45,000 signatures or one percent of the total number of votes, excluding blank and void ballots, cast for the office of Governor at the last gubernatorial election, whichever is less, with at least 500 signatures or one percent of enrolled voters, whichever is less, coming from each of one-half of the congressional districts in the state. See Effective January 1, 2020, Part V Recommendations of Public Financing Commission. Each candidate named in an independent petition for president is required to file an acknowledged acceptance of the nomination no later than the third day after the last day to file the petition. {Election Law §6-146(1)}

If there are 10 or more pages in a petition, there must be a cover sheet. A multi-volume petition requires a cover sheet for each volume. Cover sheets must contain the following information:

  • Name, address, and mailing address if different, of candidates
  • Office sought
  • Name and emblem of the independent body making the nomination
  • A statement that the petition contains a number of signatures equal to or in excess of the number required by statute.
  • The volume number of that volume
  • The total number of volumes in the petition

Additional information on cover sheets is contained in Part 6215 of the rules and regulations of the State Board of Elections.

Write-In Candidates

To run as a write-in candidate for president, you are required to file a certificate of candidacy with the State Board of Elections no later than the third Tuesday prior to the general election. The certificate must be signed by the presidential candidate and must contain the following information:

  • Name and address of presidential candidate
  • Name and address of any vice-presidential candidate, and a signed certificate of acceptance from such candidate
  • Name and address of at least one elector, with an acceptance certificate and pledge of support signed by each such candidate for elector.

See Election Law §6-153 for further information.