YATES COUNTY--Every February and March, candidates for office and their political parties go door-to-door asking for voters' signatures on designating petitions. By this means, candidates get the right to compete with other candidates in their own party for town and county public offices. The primary election will be June 22 this year. Winners of these primary contests and independent candidates will be on the ballot for the November general election. Because of the threat of COVID-19, the state legislature passed a bill last week that reduced both the time allowed to be out getting signatures and the number of signatures needed to be put on the ballot. All signatures need to be collected on petitions between March 2 and March 25, and the number of signatures required is reduced by two-thirds of the normal amount. Since the county office buildings are open with limited access and the board of elections wishes to reduce traffic at its front counter, all of the essential guidance and forms for candidates can be obtained online at: https://www.yatescounty.org/306/Candidates. A candidate training session will be held remotely on the internet at 4 p.m. on Feb. 10. The necessary link is posted on the webpage. Candidates who are unfamiliar with the process of becoming a candidate and using the various forms to comply with State Election Law, rules and regulations are encouraged to call the Yates County Board of Elections at: 315-536-5135 and press zero to speak with any of the staff. Fifty-seven offices are open for election this year.