New York Keeps Third Party Candidates Off the Ballot

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In the November election, Republican and Democratic candidates for New York governor will face no opposition on the ballot from any third party candidates. The reason is not that nobody desires to run as a third party candidate. Instead, third party candidates were unable to meet the state government’s newly-imposed increased number of signatures required on ballot access petitions.

Tim Williams provides details in a September 6 article at Spectrum News 1. Williams explains that a new state law has made two big changes detrimental to candidates running for statewide office as neither Republicans or Democrats. First, it greatly increased the number of signatures third party candidates must collect, raising the number from 15,000 to 45,000. Second, it also greatly increased the vote total in a governor or president election that is needed for a third party to escape being subjected to the massive signatures collection requirement in the next election, meaning third parties will likely face the newly raised ballot access signatures requirement election after election.

Williams notes in his article that, in this first election since 1946 with only two governor candidates on the New York state ballot, Green Party governor candidate Howie Hawkins and Libertarian Party governor candidate Larry Sharpe are planning to continue their campaigns as write-in candidates. It is much tougher, though, to gain recognition and votes as a write-in candidate than as a candidate whose name is on the ballot. Plus, third party candidates have already spent great amounts of money and effort in fruitless attempts to qualify for inclusion on the election ballot instead of on ordinary campaigning.

Efforts to alternatively seek ballot access through the courts have failed so far for the New York third party candidates. On Friday, a New York state appellate court upheld a state trial court’s decision against Sharpe and other Libertarian candidates for statewide offices, including the federal office of United States senator, who have been blocked from the ballot. The court sided with the state board of elections that had determined there was an insufficient number of petition signatures to qualify the candidates for the ballot under the new law.

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