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Supervisor's Corner: The 2021 Political Process for Webster Candidates

By Webster Town Supervisor Tom Flaherty

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Hard to believe it has been over two months since the November 2020 election. In many ways, Election Day 2020 started earlier than Tuesday, November 3 due to early voting venues and mail-in votes due to COVID-19... and it feels like it is still going on to some extent with disputes over the results. Since January 1, 2021, and over the next few weeks, positions elected in November 2020 will have already been sworn in (i.e. new House of Representatives and Senators) or will be such as the POTUS on Inauguration Day.


The election season for positions that will be on the ballot in November 2021 has already started. If you have heard the old saying "All politics are local," you will definitely be interested in how candidates get on the ballot for Town of Webster positions such as County Legislatures, Town Board, and Town Supervisor. Let's start with the foundational tenet that to be a "viable" candidate on the ballot in November 2021, you most likely need the designation of the Webster Democratic Committee (WDC) or the Webster Republican Committee (WRC). There are other paths to getting on the ballot, but based on the size of Webster and number of registered voters, obtaining the number of petition signatures you would need to be "independent or unaffiliated, etc." would be very challenging, especially during COVID where going door-to-door to get such signatures would most likely not be met well. Currently the number of signatures/petitions needed would be approximately five hundred (500) based on the number of registered voters in the various parties or unaffiliated. There is talk at the State level to reduce that number for 2021 due to COVID challenges of "door-to-door" signature/petition gatherings, but as of now there has been no formal approval of that.


The WDC and WRC are currently comprised of 20-50 members each. Considering that there currently are approximately 10,000 registered Democrats and 11,000 registered Republicans in Webster, there is a GREAT opportunity for them to get involved by joining these committees. If you go by the adage, "you are either part of the problem or part of the solution," getting on these committees is one of the best ways to be involved in what "choices" are put forth for the citizens of Webster. The WDC and WRC go through a process in January and February of vetting potential candidates (i.e. Nomination), and ultimately voting at the committee level on who will be the party's candidate (i.e. Designation). Once that candidate is designated, it does not mean they go straight to the November 2021 election being on the ballot as that party's candidate. There are two (2) scenarios that occur: 1. Another person in the party can force a primary in June 2021 if they obtain enough signatures/petitions from citizens registered in the party. 2. Primary or not, the designated candidate needs to obtain enough signatures/petitions to be validated to be the party's candidate on the November 2021 ballot.

In summary, the WDC and WRC have a lot of influence on the "choices" the Webster citizens will ultimately have to vote for in November 2021. Our democracy is foundationed in "choices." Please consider joining the WDC or WRC. The more people on those committees in the future will assure that Webster will always have choices, and that the choices they have will not be determined by too small a number of people.


As always, if you want to reach me, please call (585) 872-7068 or e-mail me at supervisor@ci.webster.ny.us.

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