Williams Calls For The Prevention Of Mass In-person Ballot Access Petitioning

February 2nd, 2021

Press Release

Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams released the following statement one month before the start of ballot access petitioning for 2021 candidates in New York City, calling for executive action to prevent the mass collection of signatures amid the pandemic. He has previously called on the Mayor to implement emergency actions.

"A month from today, in dozens of races, hundreds of candidates may be required to send thousands of volunteers to have in-person contact with hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers in order to collect signatures and access the 2021 ballot. The repercussions of this requirement are immense, a superspreader event drawn out across weeks and across the city. We cannot in good conscience or good governance go forward not only allowing the spread of COVID-19, but mandating it. 

"The new state legislation reducing the number of signatures necessary appears well-intentioned but insufficient, as it will still mandate countless contacts while compressing the timeline and condensing collection. As I have urged the Mayor and Governor, executive action is required to either drastically limit the number of signatures needed, or institute an alternative metric for ballot access, such as small-donor support. This is a moment that demands responsible leadership. With positivity rates high and vaccination rates low, it would be reckless and irresponsible for the people currently in elected office to require the people seeking it to risk massive viral spread in order to collect what could ultimately amount to contact tracing lists."

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