Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, who is under federal criminal indictment, has repeatedly refused to say whether he will seek a third term this fall. But his actions — or lack thereof — may soon speak louder than words.

Tuesday was the first day that candidates for local office could begin circulating petitions to appear on the Sept. 12 primary ballot.

While the three people who have declared their candidacies for county executive all began circulating petitions, Mangano wasn’t sharing his intentions about the process.

If Mangano, a Republican, wants to challenge former State Sen. Jack Martins, the GOP’s choice for county executive, he has until July 13 to file at least 2,000 valid signatures of registered Republicans who support his candidacy.

Representatives for Martins and the two Democrats seeking the office — County Legis. Laura Curran and County Comptroller George Maragos — confirmed Tuesday that they’re distributing petitions.

A spokesman for Mangano did not respond to requests for comment. A source close to him, however, said Tuesday that Mangano still “may” decide to put out petitions.

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Mangano was well-positioned for a third term — with more than $1 million in campaign funds — until October, when federal prosecutors charged him with receiving bribes and kickbacks from a restaurateur in exchange for benefits including a county contract.

Mangano has pleaded not guilty. A trial is set for January.

When Nassau Republicans last month tapped Martins to run for county executive, party chairman Joseph Mondello argued that the criminal cases would make it difficult for Mangano to win re-election. Mondello declined to comment Tuesday.

Mangano still has GOP supporters. At Monday’s County Legislature meeting, Fran Becker, Mangano’s legislative liaison, passionately defended Mangano after Democrats referred to his criminal charges during a debate on county contracting reforms.

“Ed Mangano’s as honest as the day is long,” Becker said. “You had an overzealous prosecutor go after him.”