Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams released the following statement in response to the New York County Supreme Court's decision in JUMAANE WILLIAMS et al, v. ANDREW CUOMO et al, which challenged mass in-person petitioning requirements for candidates seeking to gain ballot access during the pandemic.
"We are disappointed but undeterred by the Judge's decision in the case, and immediately plan to appeal. But our most fervent appeal is to Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo. The fact that the court is not legally forcing them to do the right thing at this time is neither reason nor excuse not to do it. Today's decision does not preclude them from taking action, in fact, it makes it all the more necessary.
"In just over a week, hundreds of candidates across our city and state will be required to send thousands of volunteers to have in-person contact with hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers in order to collect signatures and access the 2021 ballot. As the judge pointed out, some people may defy the CDC's social distancing guidance, but after a year of trying to prevent superspreader events, that is not a reason for our government to mandate one by requiring in-person petitioning over weeks and across our city and state. No course of action is perfect, but immediate action to stop the mass collection of signatures in this moment- given the danger that it poses- is a moral and governing obligation."