An invitation-only party: New York will be deprived of anything but the two major parties for years to come
NY Daily News Editorial, October 23, 2022
On Wednesday, in a one-sentence summary order, three Manhattan federal appeals court judges sealed New York as a two-party state. Without explanation or elaboration, the panel unanimously turned away an appeal of a lower court ruling that upheld the state’s restrictive new ballot access rules, which have had the effect of knocking all independent and third-party candidates off the ballot and keeping them off.
The Libertarians and Greens, both formerly recognized parties with coherent platforms and a modicum of popular support, had sued after Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature enacted the much tighter rules. Before, all parties needed 50,000 votes for governor every four years to remain afloat. That was upped to 130,000 votes every two years for governor and president. The new law also made it much harder to get on the statewide ballot, raising the threshold from 15,000 to 45,000 signatures.
As predicted, all of New York’s minor parties that didn’t cross-endorse the Ds and Rs in 2020 died. And this year, even though there were seven different efforts to create independent lines for governor in November, all seven failed to get over the new hump, including both the Libertarians and Greens.
Going way back, this is the first time since 1872 that New Yorkers don’t have a third-party candidate running for any of Albany’s statewide offices. That was the election in which Susan B. Anthony voted in Rochester and was arrested.
So, voters will see a Democratic slate of governor, comptroller and attorney general, all cross-endorsed by the Working Families Party, versus a GOP slate, all cross-endorsed by the Conservative Party.
We are under no illusions that a Green, Libertarian or independent candidate would have a shot at winning statewide. But the injection of a third or fourth perspective into gubernatorial campaigns can be refreshing, and more important, there’s something wrong when 13 million voters, 3 million or 23% of whom are members of no party, are by design forced to choose between nominees chosen in closed major-party primaries.
Real democracy should look different than that.