Democratic View: What to expect this petitioning season


By the time this column is in print, we will have survived Super Tuesday and be well on our way to having a nominee for president. Once again, the late New York state primary will be more about sending specific delegates to the convention than actually selecting a presidential candidate. But fear not, there will be primaries in June that mean more to us locally.

Village elections

March is the month of most village elections. Democrats have candidates running in two villages: Deborah Fisher and Dan Wakeman in Dryden, and Jessica Giles and Keith Hannon in Trumansburg. Thanks to St. Patrick’s Day, Village Election Day is a Wednesday, March 18. Polls are open from noon to 9 p.m. at each Village Hall. In Dryden, that address is 16 South St. In Trumansburg, it is 56 E. Main St.

Who’s petitioning

The new political calendar in New York state means we are petitioning in the snow for federal, state and local candidates throughout the month of March. Because Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton chose not to seek a 10th term, we have a plethora of Assembly candidates this year.

In addition, we have two candidates running for Congress, one candidate each for three State Senate districts, one State Supreme Court candidate, one County Court Judge candidate, two District Attorney candidates, two City Court Judge candidates and two people vying for State Committee positions. All of them are circulating petitions now.

Assembly candidates

Today I will focus on the Assembly candidates. These seven people will face each other in the primary June 23. To learn more about each candidate, see his or her website or Facebook page.

Once petitioning ends, the Tompkins County Democratic Committee will hold a forum at which the public can hear from all the Assembly candidates prior to the primary. The date of this forum will be sometime in late April.
How to help

If you are a registered Democrat and would like to assist with petitioning efforts for any or all of our candidates from Congress down the line, please contact Chair Jim Gustafson at This will be an ongoing effort through the month of March.

And if you see people slogging through snow banks with clipboards, be kind and sign! Just be careful to sign for no more than one candidate for each position—one Assembly candidate, one DA candidate and so on. This doesn’t commit you in any way to vote for that individual in the primary or general election; it just enables him or her to get onto the ballot.
Happy petition season! Spring is on its way.

Kathy Zahler is the former Director of Communications for the Tompkins County Democratic Committee. See the committee website at


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