Watertown has 14 city council candidates running for 2 seats

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 5:19 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Watertown residents currently have 14 city council candidates to choose from. We look into why there could be so much interest, how many signatures a candidate needs to get, and how many petitions one resident is allowed to sign.

Officials at the Jefferson County Board of Elections can’t confirm if this is a record.

“I think we’ve had 9 at one point, but if all 14 turn in, then that would be well in above what we typically see,” said Republican Elections Commissioner Jude Seymour

In about 2 weeks, petitions for Watertown city council candidates are due.

Seymour says current hot topics on council like the Thompson Park Golf Course purchase and adding a third swimming pool could be why there’s an uptick in candidates.

“Sometimes it’s about budget, about what we’re spending, our spending priorities. Sometimes it’s about specific issues, whether that be a purchase agreement or anything like that,” he said.

Each candidate needs a total of 165 signatures on their petition.

City residents can only sign two petitions given that there are two seats open on city council.

Seymour says now it’s only a matter of time to see if all 14 candidates are able to turn in their petitions.

“Then they get out here and they realize they got to talk to people; people want to talk to them about the issues of the day and it’s taking up a lot more time than they thought and they don’t want to put the effort towards it, and they might decide to not turn in the signatures,” he said.

Even though candidates need a minimum of 165 signatures, Seymour says they should get more in case some signatures are disqualified.