New York minor party changes

The state of New York has an unusual provision whereby minor parties that obtain ballot status may endorse candidates of other parties. A cross-endorsed candidate’s votes from the various ballot lines are added together. This system allows a minor party to demonstrate just how many votes it has contributed to a candidate’s total.

Following the 2010 elections, there are some changes in which parties qualify, and in their order on the ballot, the WSJ reports.

The big winners were the Green Party, which will be listed on ballots for the next four years, and the Conservative Party, which seized the No. 3 spot on ballots, behind Democrats and Republicans, also for the next four years.

A party needs to tally at least 50,000 votes in the governor’s race to be guaranteed a spot on ballots and avoid having to petition for them.

In 2010, the Greens had their own candidate for Governor, while the Conservatives contributed 232,263 votes to losing Republican candidate Carl Paladino.

The Working Families Party, a left-leaning minor party closely tied to the Democratic Party, also moved up, keeping its spot behind the Conservative Party. Plagued by investigation, the party saved its automatic ballot spot with 154,857 votes. Democratic winner Andrew Cuomo at first didn’t accept the party’s endorsement, then didn’t actively try to bolster it.

The Independence Party slipped to the third highest ballot spot for minor parties, attracting 146,646 votes for Cuomo, its cross-endorsed candidate.

The ballot format has changed, in a way in which the chairman of the Independence Party says will make the position on the ballot less important.

Now, all choices are on a single sheet for a voter to mark a choice, compared to the old mechanical machines, where a voter had to keep looking down a column to see the minor parties.

A Taxpayer’s Party, which Paladino created to help attract “tea party” voters obtained only about 20,000 of them and thus will not have a ballot line. Some others also missed out, inlcuding:

the Rent Too Damn High Party, which got attention for the performance of its candidate, Jimmy McMillan, including being parodied on “Saturday Night Live.” Also barely missing was the Libertarian Party, which attracted 48,386 for its candidate, Warren Redlich, who made a strong impression in the only televised debate.

The article mentions that the Green candidate was also in the debate. Imagine that, debates involving more than two candidates!

2 thoughts on “New York minor party changes

  1. A local version of cross endorsed lists has become extremely common in Argentine elections, where people call them “listas espejo” (mirror lists). Since we still use party ballots, the mirror lists consist in different parties presenting the same list of candidates (in general, it is the list of the major party, which is replicated by several minor parties). For minor parties the goal is the same than in NY, to maintain their legal status as parties (they need to get at least 2% of the vote in one every two elections), but also to get state funding (the state pays according to the votes obtained).
    For major parties, it helps (a bit) to have their list of candidates disseminated all over the voting booth.
    It has become common to have one list replicated in 8 or 9 mirror lists in every election.

  2. So New York gives Green Party voters the illusion of power by letting them vote for the Democrat on the Green Party ticket. Umm, some countries let Green Party voters elect Green Party MPs. Unamerican, eh?

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