Every once in a while somebody gets somebody else in trouble over nominating petitions. Often it's a fight to get the petitions tossed, ending the candidacy. An ardent and observant foe can try to get you charged with a crime.
Having done petitions for years, I have always taken it seriously even though the public doesn't understand what's going on. Many ask why you have to do this if you are already in office.
I remember the old days when you had to have the blanks printed as word processors and photo copiers were not available.
Often it's "technicalities" which others call paying attention to detail.
Other times it's outright fraud. Just writing in names at the kitchen table or leaving the petition on a store counter and then signing the witness statement even if you didn't witness anything.
In the gotcha , gossipy world of politics there is always someone looking to ding you, so for that reason alone, you might as well do it right.
In this case in Morristown, it's a small town like many where all these positions are unopposed, so its easy to rationalize sloppy. Who hasn't been to a door and someone said, 'I'll have my wife sign but she's in the shower." In that case, short of heading to the shower to check, it might best to let the person take the clipboard and then after you leave, strike that signature.
Remember, if that person innocently relates the story to a friend on the other side who is connected, they might send someone to get a signed statement from the shower lady and then you're done.
Obeying the law and covering your butt. Either way it's a good practice.
To get charges, like in Morristown, you'd have to get sworn statements from the people who signed in the presence of someone else. Somebody wanted somebody really bad.
Watertown Daily Times | Morristown official arrested for allegedly falsifying petition