Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation that adds an additional five days to the period to gather signatures for designating petitions for the 2014 State and local primary elections. The extension takes into account the time during which the Jewish festival of Shavuot is observed this year and helps ensure that all interested New Yorkers may participate equally in the State's political process.
"Participation is integral to the success of our democracy, and this bill helps to ensure that New Yorkers who celebrate Shavuot are able to take part in this year's primary elections," Governor Cuomo said. "Extending the petition deadline for state and local elections by five days helps enable all New Yorkers to participate in this important democratic process, and I am pleased to sign this bill into law."
Before signing this bill, Election Law § 6-134 set June 3rd as the first day to sign a petition for a candidate to participate in a primary election to be held in 2014; so the first day of signing a petition would fall during the two-day Jewish observance of the festival of Shavuot.
Extending the deadline by five days moves the first day to sign up to May 29th, 42 days before the day to file candidate petitions to recognize the observance of Shavuot. The legislation will make changes to the calendars for all county and State political committees.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "Every New Yorker must have the opportunity to participate equally in our State's political process. That requires us to recognize and accommodate the religious observances of all of our citizens. Shifting the petitioning date in respect of Shavuot will ensure that observant Jews will continue to have a voice in our democracy and I thank the Governor for his swift approval of this measure.
Senator Simcha Felder said, "All New Yorkers should have every opportunity to actively participate in the election process and should not be hindered from doing so because of their religious beliefs or observance. This legislation ensures that no one will be deprived of their fundamental right. I want to thank Governor Cuomo and Senate Majority Republican Co-Leader Dean Skelos for their support of this legislation and for swiftly signing it into law."