In the last gubernatorial election here in New York the Libertarian Party of New York had its best showing in its forty-year history. Unfortunately that still ended up being 1,614 votes too short. Candidate for Governor Warren Redlich earned 48,386 votes but didn’t receive the 50,000 needed to give the LPNY ballot access.
What is ballot access? Ballot Access would allow for primary elections and allow for statewide candidates to be exempted from having to petition. Petitioning in a process where, for statewide candidates, over fifteen-thousand signatures are required from a majority of the state’s congressional districts to get on the ballot. It is an expensive and time consuming procedure. That’s just the basics, as with anything else it is more complicated. Check out the New York State Board of Elections for more information.
Ballot access would allow for resources to be spent in better ways. Informing the public about a candidate and running their campaign as opposed to trying to get signatures.
The televised Governor’s debate that brought in all of the candidates was of great help. It allowed the LPNY to get part of its message out. Unfortunately I don’t think that we’ll see the third parties invited back again.
Who gained ballot access in the 2010 election? Just six parties making up only three candidates. The Democrats and Republicans both easily had over 50,000 votes each… they each easily had over a million votes each. Beyond that were the Conservative, Working Families, Independence, and Green parties. Out of these additional four only the Green party ran its own candidate for governor. For the most part the other parties I mentioned just nominated a Democrat or Republican for all of the slots they wanted to fill. To me that makes these other parties less legitimate, the Greens and Libertarians ran their own people but the Conservative, Working Families, and so-called Independence party did not.
Now there is nothing wrong with a candidate running for a couple of parties. Smaller parties may want to take advantage of nominating a couple of candidates from other parties if their philosophy is favorable. Its just when entire third parties exist that have nothing of their own to run on. To be fair the Conservatives have run their own candidates for governor in the past, but not many recently. The Independence party should really have been called the Golisano Party since it was the vehicle for his own attempt to win the governorship. Once Golisano left I’m not sure what the point or ideals of the Independence Party are.
So basically instead of having six choices we only have two or three choices with different party names attached to them to make us feel like we have choice. Of course maybe I’m out of touch; if the people wanted more than two parties they would vote for a third, forth, and fifth party. All I usually hear is a lot of grumbling about the lack of choice by people who either end up not voting or voting for one of the two major parties. In a way that is amusing, in another way that is sad.
If everyone who didn’t vote who could have in the last election here in New York voted for Warren or Jimmy McMillan that person would now be Governor, so don’t think you don’t have power.
Campaign finance reform, fairness doctrines, and civility won’t save our political system. People going out and voting for what they think is best is what we need. The Democrats & Republicans want you to stay home on Election Day, they already have enough votes.