Changes were approved on Saturday to New York's ballot petitioning requirements as campaigns suspend signature collections amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday signed an executive order to modify the petitioning process for the June congressional, state Senate, Assembly and judicial races. The move means candidates will need to collect only 30 percent of the statutory threshold.
For Congress, this means 375 signatures compared with 1,250. For state Senate, candidates would 300 signatures rather than 1,000. For the Assembly, candidates would need 150 signatures, not 500.
The order suspends the petitioning process effective 5 pm on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the order made changes to extend the absentee ballot registration for the Queens borough president special election on March 24. The current deadline to register to vote by absentee ballot is now March 23 for that race.
Ballots must be postmarked or delivered in person until the day of the election.
"Public health experts have been clear that one of the most common ways to communicate COVID-19 is through direct person to person contact, and we are doing everything in our immediate power to reduce unnecessary interactions," Cuomo said in a statement. "This executive order modifies the election process in a way that both protects public health and ensures the democratic process remains healthy and strong regardless of the ongoing pandemic."
Some lawmakers are also calling for moving the April 28 presidential primary as well. Several special elections are being held on that date, including a race for an open western New York House district and a state Senate seat.