The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the witnessing of petition signatures need not be done prior to the deadline for gathering the signatures:
These are unusual times occasioned by the onset of the COVID-19 virus. The State has undertaken various measures to protect the health and safety of its residents by limiting the face-to-face contact of persons and thereby minimizing the extent of human transmission of the virus. Some of the State’s measures are set forth in Executive Orders of the Governor, including, as relevant here, Executive Order No. 202.2. Executive Order No. 202.2, dated March 14, 2020, modified article 6 of the Election Law to reduce the number of petition signatures required for placing candidates’ names on ballots, and to suspend the “gathering of signatures” after 5:00 p.m. on March 17, 2020. The Executive Order is consistent with the State’s policy of limiting social and professional interactions and community contact transmissions of COVID-19 (see Executive Order 202.2). …
The language of the Executive Order plainly directs that only the “gathering of signatures” was subject to the deadline of 5:00 p.m. on March 17, 2020. The signatures contained in the appellant’s designating petition were all “gathered” prior to that deadline. The language of the Executive Order provides no truncated deadline for the witnessing of those signatures. Indeed, since the witnessing of signatures is a ministerial task unrelated to the face-to-face interactions that Executive Order No. 202.2 was issued to minimize, there would be no reason for the Governor to have intended, or for the Executive Order itself to provide, that the witnessing of signatures also be suspended as of 5:00 p.m. on March 17, 2020.
Thus, we disagree with the Supreme Court’s determination granting the petition, inter alia, to invalidate the appellant’s designating petition on the ground that the executions of the Statement of Witness on March 19, 2020, violated the signature gathering deadline of Executive Order No. 202.2 … . Matter of Parascando v Monheit, 2020 NY Slip Op 02744, Second Dept 5-7-20