Getting on the Ballot in NY State Part 2: Caucus or Petition?

This post is an excerpt from our forthcoming The Ulster County Electoral Field Guide, developed by Ulster People Vice Chair Penny Coleman. We have done our best to ensure its accuracy as of March 2019.

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Getting on the Ballot: Caucus or Petition

Party nomination of candidates for elective office is made at either a party caucus or in a primary election.  In Ulster County, petitioning is used for all state and county-wide offices, legislative seats, and some town offices.  If more than one candidate from the same party submits enough valid petition signatures, there will also be a primary election.  The City of Kingston and the Towns of Woodstock and New Paltz have switched to petition, but in other towns the caucus is still used.

Continue reading “Getting on the Ballot in NY State Part 2: Caucus or Petition?”

Getting on the Ballot in NY State Part 1: Background

Getting on the Ballot in New York State - Part I: Background

This post is an excerpt from our forthcoming The Ulster County Electoral Field Guide, developed by Ulster People Vice Chair Penny Coleman. We have done our best to ensure its accuracy as of March 2019.

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New York’s Election Laws (Background)

Election laws and procedures are different everywhere you go in the U.S. and at every level of federal, state and local government.  The way things are done in Ulster County might be similar to the way things are done in Columbia or Green, but don’t count on it. It’s always best to make sure you understand what the specific local rules are for the office you are seeking. Check with the BOE and never assume that what was true for last year’s election will be true for the next.

Image by Let NY Vote

Some background on New York State Election Politics:

If you think voting restrictions are only a southern shame, think again.  New Yorkers have endured some of the most restrictive voting rights laws, and consequently one of the worst records on voter turnout, in the country.  In 2016, we ranked 41st in voter turnout. That was an improvement over 2014, when we ranked 49th, with only 27% of eligible voters making it to the polls.

Continue reading “Getting on the Ballot in NY State Part 1: Background”

Nominate Someone to Run for Local Office!

Do you have a friend, family member, co-worker or neighbor who you think would make a great candidate? Nominate them to run for local office!

We are looking for leaders who genuinely represent their community. We are especially eager to support candidates who are women, people of color, and come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

A lot of the best candidates aren’t seeking the spotlight — they might have not even considered running for office before. Your nomination could plant the seed of something great.

Supporting First Time Candidates

Running for office can be intimidating, especially if you don’t have access to wealthy donors and political insiders. Ulster People is working to change that. Our volunteers have years of collective experience working on local campaigns in Ulster County, and we’ve developed materials designed to quickly bring first-time, grassroots candidates get up to speed.

2019 is the Year to Build Our Bench

This November in Ulster County, all 23 county legislative seats are up for election. Many other local offices are also on the ballot. If we care about building a more diverse and energetic bench of politicians, this is the year we need to do. the. work.

But because of New York State’s recent primary consolidation (overall, a good thing!), the time frame for deciding to run and get on the ballot has been greatly condensed from past years. We have less time to recruit great candidates, which makes your nominations all the more important!

Ulster People Endorses Strong, Rounds & Clegg!

Ulster People for Justice & Democracy is proud to endorse Pat Strong, Byran Rounds, and Dave Clegg

Ulster People for Justice & Democracy is proud to endorse the following candidates for countywide office in 2019, who, if elected, will shift the balance of power and make real change possible:

  • A thriving and inclusive local economy that supports ALL our residents.
  • Protection of the rights and well-being of the most vulnerable among us.
  • A healthy, sustainable environment for now and generations to come.
Continue reading “Ulster People Endorses Strong, Rounds & Clegg!”

Get On The Bus for the Feb 12th Fair Elections Albany Day of Action!

Fair Elections for NY Feb 12 Day of Action

It’s time to reject the big-money status quo and make people the most important currency in Albany.

Join the Fair Elections Coalition in Albany on February 12 to demand Fair Elections!

We must protect and expand the freedom to vote for every eligible New Yorker and pass comprehensive campaign finance reform, including a small donor matching system. It’s time to make Albany work for all New Yorkers, not just big donors. To tackle the crises we face in housing, living wage jobs, criminal justice, affordable health care, transportation, climate, fair taxes, and more, we must transform a campaign finance system that advantages the interests of the few over those of the many. We must make fixing our democracy the first priority in Albany.  

BUS PICKUP SCHEDULE (fill out the form to sign up & secure a spot on the bus)  

White Plains: 6:30 AM
16 Ferris Ave., White Plains, NY 10601

Newburgh: 8:00 AM
60 NY Highway 17K, Newburgh, NY 12550

Kingston: 9:00 AM
I587 Park and Ride Kingston, NY 12401

Questions? Contact regional organizer Andy Falk (, 914-629-4089)

Call Your NY State Reps to Demand Fair Elections!

For the first time in many years, there is new and different leadership at the State Capital in Albany. The New York legislature is officially back in session, and now it is critical that we demand our lawmakers fix our broken election laws.

For too long real estate and hedge fund billionaires have used their money to block progress in Albany. It’s past time to make Albany work for all New Yorkers, not wealthy special interests.

The people of New York want tenant protections, education equity, decarceration, health care for all, and climate justice, but we must fix our democracy first. We need voting rights, like automatic voter registration, and we need a campaign finance system that values small donors first, not big checks from lobbyists.

The Fair Elections for NY Campaign has created a hotline that will transfer you to your elected representative, or the office of a Senator or Assembly person who is in a key position to make a difference on these issues: Dial 866-864-8567

Tell the person who answers the phone:

There’s no excuse not to fix our broken democracy. Pass voting rights and a small donor public financing system early in 2019.

Then, please fill out the form at to let them know how your call went!

Register to vote! And double-check your registration!

Friday, October 12th is the LAST day to register to vote in New York in the upcoming November elections! Not only that, is is also the LAST DAY to change your party affiliation in advance of the 2019 primary elections — a whole year away!

Not registered? No problem.

Even if you’re already registered, PLEASE take a moment right now to double-check. Especially if you’ve moved recently. But even if you haven’t. New York State is notorious for purging voters from the rolls. We need to be vigilant!

To check your registration, visit and enter your info (or use the form below, powered by Fill at the form to look up your registration, and then confirm (Under “Voter Information”) that:

  • Your address is accurate.
  • Your political party is the one whose primary you want to vote in.
  • Your voter status is active.

Vote in the 2018 State/Local Primary!

Vote! Polls are open Noon – 9PM.

If you are a DEMOCRAT in ULSTER COUNTY, please vote Juan Figueroa for Ulster County Sheriff!

If you are a DEMOCRAT in NEW YORK STATE, please vote Cynthia Nixon for Governor and Jumaane Williams for Lt. Governor!

If you are a DEMOCRAT or UNAFFILIATED/INDEPENDENT voter in NY STATE SENATE DISTRICT 42 (in Ulster County, that’s Rosendale, New Paltz, Gardiner, Shawangunk, Wawarsing, and Denning), please vote for Jen Metzger for State Senate!

Read about why we’ve endorsed these candidates.

Find your polling place.

Step 1: Find your “election district” at

Step 2: Lookup your polling place here.

ATTN: NEW PALTZ, PLATTEKILL & WAWARSING voters: Your polling site may have changed!

Click to see full-size images.

Know Your Rights!

In New York State, it is illegal to ask for an ID at the polls!

The only exception is if you are voting at your polling location for the first time and the Board of Elections was previously unable to verify your identity with the DMV or Social Security Office. This typically only happens if you did not provide a drivers license or social security number when you registered to vote. If this happened, you should have received notice from the Board of Elections prior to election day. You can verify your identity with any of the following: a valid photo ID, a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, or some other form of government document that shows both your name and address.

(Here’s the law, see page 12).

Trouble at the Polls? Report it!

If you experience any issues voting today, or feel you are being discriminated against at the polls, please call the Attorney General’s voter hotline at 800-771-7755 or the Nixon campaign hotline at 646-688-4124. You can also email the AG at Locally you can contact the Ulster Board of Elections at 845-334-5470. Please also notify Ulster People if your problem is not resolved by emailing

Did you know that independent voters not registered in a political party can vote for Jen Metzger in the primary?

If you are an unaffiliated, independent voter in State Senate District 42*, who does not belong to any political party, you can also VOTE for Jen on September 13th!

Independent voters can write in “Jen Metzger” on the line on the Reform party ballot. More details here.

* In Ulster County, District 42 includes the towns of Rosendale, New Paltz, Gardiner, Shawangunk, Wawarsing, and Denning.

Help get Cynthia & Jumaane on the ballot!

No More #StatusCuomo

We are officially in petitioning season, and have just a bit over a month to collect the thousands of signatures our candidates need to get on the ballot. If you are a registered Democrat, we need your help!

Not sure if you are a registered Democrat? Lookup your voter registration here.

Upcoming Petitioning Events

Host an “Petition Party”

Hosting a Petition Party is fun and easy! All you need to do is hang out for a couple hours at a location and time of your choosing, help people sign the petition correctly, and maybe chat about the candidates for a bit.

You can host a house party, or ask your favorite bar, restaurant, or coffee shop for permission to use their space.

UP will handle promotion of the event, so you don’t have to worry about that – though we hope you’ll invite your friends!

To make sure the petitions are completed correctly, you will need to attend a brief training. You can find upcoming trainings on this map, or we can train you individually.

If you’re interested, please email for more details!

Carry Petitions

Would you like to carry a petition to collect signatures from friends, co-workers, and neighbors? You can get a walk-list to go door-to-door, attend a farmer’s market or other public event with a clipboard, or just gather signatures at work! Contact for petitions, training, and turf – or find a nearby petitioning event here.

Sign a Petition

If you don’t have time to host an event or carry petitions, we still want your signature! Keep an eye on the map for upcoming petition parties near you — all it takes is 5 minutes to stop by and sign!

Not a registered Democrat? You can still help!

We need volunteers to make turnout calls and texts for our events, help with data entry, deliver petition materials to volunteers, and more! Contact to get involved.

About the Candidates

Cynthia Nixon, though best-known as an award-winning actor, is a long-time activist for public schools, marriage equality, and women’s rights. She advances an agenda for a New York that serves the many, not the few: rent justice, marijuana legalization, improved public transportation, a clean energy economy, and drivers licenses for all. She has great clarity about the specifics of Albany cronyism and the inhumane consequences of austerity. She is refreshingly honest about the areas in which she lacks experience and surrounds herself with good, experienced people while leveraging her celebrity into a formidable force against Cuomo’s $30 million war chest. Just two months into her candidacy, she has deftly used her intelligence, humor, and media connections to promote her platform in ways that have already moved the conversation– and Cuomo – to the left.

Jumaane Williams has been a forceful voice on the NYC Council for affordable housing, anti-gun violence measures, fair policing, equity, and social justice. He authored the legislation that ended Stop and Frisk in NYC, and championed youth employment initiatives. He has a background in community organizing and has prioritized housing initiatives and tenants’ rights. He is also a committed immigrants rights activist. He is running to be “the voice of the people in state government,” with a vision to transform the office of Lieutenant Governor into the role of independent advocate for all New Yorkers.

Announcing Ulster People’s 2018 Endorsements!

Ulster People 2018 Endorsements

Ulster People is proud to endorse the following candidates for State and County office, who, if elected, will shift the balance of power and make real change possible:

  • A thriving and inclusive local economy that supports ALL our residents.
  • Protection of the rights and well-being of the most vulnerable among us.
  • A healthy, sustainable environment for now and generations to come.

In competitive primary races, Ulster People is endorsing the following candidates:

Cynthia Nixon Cynthia Nixon for NYS Governor
Jumaane WilliamsJumaane Williams for NYS Lieutenant Governor
Juan FigueroaJuan Figueroa for Ulster County Sheriff
Jen MetzgerJen Metzger for NYS Senate District 42

And in the general election:

Pat StrongPat Strong for NYS Senate District 46
Joyce St. GeorgeJoyce St. George for NYS Senate District 51

On the CD-19 Race

In the CD-19 race, Ulster People is inspired by the number of candidates who embrace the people-friendly policies of our platform. Given the many strengths of the candidates and our shared commitment to defeating John Faso in the general election, we have decided not to endorse any individual candidate at this time. We look forward to working hard after the primary for a candidate who shares our values. In the meantime, we will focus our efforts on supporting our endorsed candidates at the county and state levels.

About Our Endorsement Process

Any candidate who wished to seek the group’s endorsement, regardless of party, was asked to complete a questionnaire which was reviewed by Ulster People’s endorsement committee. If the responses showed a strong alignment between the candidate’s views and actions and Ulster People’s platform, candidates were invited to interview with the endorsement committee, after which, the committee voted to recommend endorsement (or not). The voting members of Ulster People made the final endorsement decisions.

So now that we’ve endorsed them, let’s help get them elected!

You may also volunteer or donate to the candidates directly through their websites (linked above).

We also encourage you to like each candidate’s Facebook page (also linked above) and like, comment, and share their posts!


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