The why, who, and how of writing-in a third party candidate
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, November 3, 2022
Wellsville Sun, November 5, 2022
Op-Ed by Bob Confer
There have been considerable fireworks in the race for governor and with the focus on the Democratic incumbent Kathy Hochul and Republican upstart Lee Zeldin you might think it begins and ends with them.
It doesn’t. There are also some third party candidates — Larry Sharpe (Libertarian) and Howie Hawkins (Green).
You wouldn’t know that, though, because, other than the occasional report of Sharpe’s struggles for ballot access, the press has given these candidates little to no exposure and they weren’t included in the sole gubernatorial debate. The average voter doesn’t know who they are or what their platforms are.
Worse yet, the average voter doesn’t know they can vote for them.
That’s a legacy of the Andrew Cuomo era. Hidden in the bowels of the 2020-2021 state budget were roadblocks to the third parties that were and could be making inroads in a nation so starkly divided along two-party lines.
Under the old rules, a party itself could achieve and maintain ballot access by securing 50,000 votes in the race for governor. The new rules require minor parties to requalify every two years by receiving either 2% of total votes or 130,000 votes in a presidential or gubernatorial race.
Also, any party that became unqualified has to complete a more rigorous petition process in order to get a candidate listed. It used to take 15,000 signatures. Now, it’s 45,000. Imagine the roadwork, hustle, and hassle that is needed to canvas the state for three times the number of signatures than were needed during the last gubernatorial/mid-term election.
Of the minor parties in New York, Conservative and Working Families remain standing after reaching the 130,000-vote criteria in the 2020 presidential election. One could argue, though, that neither of them are true third parties, they are voices and influencers of the Republican and Democratic parties respectively. You see that in New York’s fusion politics, which has those alleged third parties basically parroting the other two parties on the ballot.
So, gone off the ballot are the Independence, Libertarian, Green and Serve America Movement parties. It should be noted that the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate in 2020, Jo Jorgensen, garnered 60,000 votes in New York, which would have surpassed the old threshold and kept the LP on the ballot.