(Albany NY) Green and Libertarian Party officials announced they will pursue litigation against the anti-democratic changes in ballot access recommended by the Public Campaign Finance Reform Commission.
Speaking at a press conference in Albany, they said the lack of response from the Assembly and Senate Democratic leadership highlighted their complicity in the Democratic-led Commission’s vote along party lines to enact new thresholds that would prove nearly impossible for New York’s third parties to meet. Officials from both parties said this proved the Commission had been fixated from the start on crushing third parties that challenge the major parties’ duopoly under the guise of enacting a public campaign finance system, and that the Democratic leadership was scared of emerging third party insurgent success.
“It is the Democratic Party that is responsible for this effort to suppress democracy while doing little to limit the impact of major donors. This is not the type of reforms Democrats promised voters when they took complete control of the State Capitol. Cuomo is responsible for this outrageous behavior, but Carl Heastie and Andrea Stewart-Cousins are complicit in agreeing to eliminate third party competition in New York,” said 2018 Green Comptroller candidate Mark Dunlea, a co-founder of the State Party.
Dunlea asked Heastie and Stewart-Cousins "Were you aware of the Commission’s real goal of destroying third parties when it was added as part of the budget legislation in the spring? Why are you unwilling to return early from your six month paid vacation in order to reject the Commission’s recommendations, especially when so many legislators claim they oppose them?” asked Dunlea.
Dunlea was the campaign manager for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein when she qualified for the ballot in 44 states and DC. “Cuomo’s changes will make New York among the most difficult in the country for third parties and independents to qualify for statewide races. It is outrageous that in addition to killing third parties, the Democrats want to increase the thresholds to qualify as an independent by 500%,” added Dunlea, While the Democrats want to triple the number of signatures for statewide independents from 15,000 to 45,000, even more difficult is increasing the number of signatures required in half of the Congressional Districts from 100 to 500.
Dunlea said Cuomo was similar to Trump in his drive to eliminate political opposition and democratic debate.
“The Libertarian Party of New York achieved ballot access last year for the first time. Now we, along with every other third party, will be forced to requalify for the ballot in eleven months and then every two years. These restrictions were written by the Democratic Party’s representatives on an unelected commission without any representatives from the state’s third parties. It is frankly an undemocratic and authoritarian move by the leadership of the Democratic Party to limit electoral competition. Unless the legislature returns to right this wrong, we will gladly partner with the Green Party and other third parties to litigate and seek justice in the courts,” said James Rosenbeck, the chair of the Libertarian Party.