Two northeast Queens lawmakers have been selected as delegates for the Democratic Party in the upcoming presidential elections.
State Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) hope their work will keep President Barack Obama in the White House.
“I’m excited to represent Queens and represent New York state as we nominate Obama for a second term,” Meng said.
The first task given to Meng and Stavisky will be to collect signatures to get themselves and the president on ballots.
As delegates, they will need to be elected — and, obviously, the president needs to be on a ballot to compete with the winner of the Republican Party primary.
The Queens GOP will also pick delegates to perform a similar task, but the party did not return a call to TimesLedger Newspapers by press time Tuesday.
Signatures are required for nearly all public offices, including spots at the city level. It ensures that the ballot will only list serious contenders.
The two northeast Queens legislators will be pounding the pavement in the next few weeks to take names and turn in the signatures by Feb. 2.
There are two delegates assigned to each congressional district. In this case, Meng and Stavisky are assigned to the district of U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside).
But aside from collecting signatures, their essential function will be to cast electoral votes in the 2012 November election.
When Queens residents take to the polls in November, their votes will technically not pick the president. Instead, their votes will act as a guide as to how delegates, like Meng and Stavisky, will vote to officially elect the president.
Each state is assigned a number of electoral votes based on the number of representatives it has in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. In New York, that number is 29, two less after the 2010 census trimmed two House seats.
It is a process that is not new to Stavisky, who was a delegate in 2008 and attended the convention in Colorado.
“It was interesting because you met people from all over the country,” she said. “Their issues are very similar. A person out of work in Denver is very similar to somebody out of work in Queens.”
The Republican primary is still in full swing, so Queens delegates from the Republican Party do not know who to collect signatures for as of yet.
Obama already has his party’s endorsement to run in the upcoming election, and recently ran his first re-election television ad.