I attended the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee's meeting on Saturday, March 18, 2023. I was asked to leave, but as it was held at the Saratoga Springs Library, all events in the library's meeting rooms must be open to the public, so I was able to stay and observe what Chair Pat Tuz touted as a "Rah,rah fellowship meeting". The meeting included some questionable directions to petition gatherers.
Accounts Commissioner Dillon Moran is head of the committee collecting signatures for election petitions. This process has become especially challenging this year as, in addition to the full slate of candidates on the petitions the committee members are circulating, Democrat Chris Mathiesen is also independently circulating a petition for Mayor and Democrat Michele Madigan is also independently circulating a petition for the second Supervisor slot. Someone asked Moran what to do if a person they approached said they wanted to sign the petition for one of the challengers rather than for the candidates on the committee petitions. Moran responded that they should just pass on to the next person. You cannot sign petitions for two different people running for the same office therefore if someone wanted to sign Chris Mathiesen's petition for mayor, they could not also sign a petition for Ron Kim for Mayor.
Then Committee member Shafer Gaston spoke up. He told the attendees that it was actually not illegal to sign more than one petition for the same office . He told them to tell people they could sign as many petitions as they wanted and they should get the signature anyway.
It is true that it is not illegal to sign for more than one candidate for the same office. But it is also true that your signature may not count if you do this. Election law establishes that if the same person signs for two different candidates for the same office, the signature with the earliest date is valid and the other is not.
So while it may not be illegal to encourage voters to sign all the petitions they want, it is surely unethical and manipulative to mislead a voter into signing a petition for a candidate they do not want to support without telling them that their signature for the candidate they do like will then be invalid.
Neither Moran nor anyone else at the meeting pushed back on Gaston.