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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Petition Drive Warning

New Yorkers beware. You are about to be besieged by campaign workers carrying clipboards and asking you to sign a petition for various candidates.

Voters should be advised that they can sign a petition for only one candidate for each office, and only for candidates in the political party in which you are enrolled. (You may not be "enrolled," so check with your local board of elections.) If you sign for more than one, only the earlier signature counts.

Candidates need to get their operation together real soon. In my experience as an election lawyer for campaigns since the early 1990s, organized campaigns with volunteer support have a solid chance of getting on the ballot. Crucial to the effort is having lawyers, advisers and managers who understand legal compliance and the discipline to follow the laws and rules.

After the Democratic and Republican state party conventions in the next two weeks, we should see a parade of candidates who, having been denied an automatic spot on the primary ballot by the convention delegates, will need to collect petition signatures. Stay tuned.

(Eric Dixon has been an election lawyer, petition drive coordinator and campaign manager for over two dozen candidates since the 1990s. He is available for consultation and may be reached at 917-696-2442.)

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