The New York State Libertarian and Green parties are calling foul for the change of rules for third parties running candidates in New York state.
Cody Anderson, the chair of the Libertarian Party in the state of New York, said his party, along with the New York Green Party, had filed a preliminary injunction in a federal lawsuit to have the State Board of Election cease implementing changes to Election Law passed in Part ZZZ in U.S. District Court – Southern District of New York.
“If we lose, and I don’t think we will, but if we lose, it will be nearly impossible to get back on the ballot,” Anderson said.
In 2018, the Libertarian Party, the Green Party, the Independence Party and the SAM Party all received more than 50,000 votes each for their candidates in the governor’s race. Before Part ZZZ, this secured each of them a party line in the 2022 election.
However, the rules have now been changed, according to Duane Whitmer, a former-candidate on the Libertarian line. And he said that’s not fair, or even legal.
“Under the new rules, the ballot access that these parties earned through 2022 was removed,” Whitmer said. “In 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the thresholds were changed, and these parties needed to reach a higher threshold in 2020 in order to maintain ballot access.”
That “higher threshold” was 171,000 votes for their presidential candidate, about 2% of the votes cast in New York for the nationwide election, said Whitmer.
Part ZZZ stipulated that instead of securing 50,000 votes for each party’s candidates for governor and thereby becoming a recognized political party for four years with a ballot line, that time was sliced in half to two years and included the race for president. Candidates nominated by third parties in both the presidential election and the gubernatorial election must gather 130,000 votes or 2% of the vote in New York – whichever was higher – to keep their parties on the ballot line.
This knocked down all four of the third parties mentioned to square one – petitioning to get on the ballot that they'd won the right to be on already.
"We had had ballot status originally in 1996," said Gloria Mattera, co-chair for the New York Green Party. "We had really kept building the party with petitions of tens of thousands of signatures. We ran local candidates, myself included several times. ... We'd maintained ballot status for three gubernatorial cycles. ... We're working hard to overturn this unfair law."
If the parties loses the lawsuit, Libertarians and Greens will have to collect 45,000 signatures, up from 15,000, to run a candidate for governor.
If they win the lawsuit, the party will only need petitions from about 5% of registered Libertarians or Greens in New York.
“We can lie down and take it after fighting for ballot access (for years),” Anderson said. “Or we can stand up and fight it. Fight it all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.”