Tuesday was the first day of a 37 day push to collect petitions for candidates across New York State to get on the ballot on Election Day, November 5. While many people believe that candidates get on the ballot by being endorsed at political conventions, in most NYS races that is only part of the process. Outside of statewide, village, and some judicial campaigns, candidates have only one official way to get on the ballot for Election Day and that is to collect signatures on petitions.
The NYS Election Law requires candidates to collect the signatures of 5% of the registered voters from the party for which you wish to run under (or a set number). Most candidates try to get about 10% to avoid any legal challenges.
Starting Tuesday and continuing until July 11, volunteers for candidates of all parties will be ringing door bells and asking voters to sign petitions, which will later be filed at the Board of Elections. For example, I need about 375 signatures this year for the Republican line, but we plan to file over 750 signatures.
If you are a registered voter in a political party and meet the 5% signature requirement of voters from that party, you are on the ballot. If more than one candidate files petitions for a particular seat, they will face-off in a primary on September 10. If a candidate does not have a primary, he or she advances directly to the November 5 election.
For a political party of which a candidate is not a member, to run on that line you must meet the 5% signature requirement and get permission from that party to run on its line.