Green Party Accuses Cuomo of Unconstitutional Attacks on Political Parties

Green Party of New York
Media Release

For Immediate Release: May 1, 2013
For More Info: Gloria Mattera, 917 886-4538, [email protected]
Michael O'Neil, [email protected], 917-825-3562

Green Party Accuses Cuomo of Unconstitutional Attacks on Political Parties

The Green Party said today that the proposals by Governor Cuomo and the IDC to allow non-party members to petition their way into other parties' primaries is unconstitutional, a violation of their first amendment rights.

The Green party pointed out that Cuomo's proposal is similar to the existing opportunity to ballot law, which the Greens and other ballot law experts contend is unconstitutional. The existing law allows non-party members to force a primary with the opportunity for party members to write in any candidate they want by collecting signatures. Apparently what Cuomo and the IDC wants to do is make it even easier for major parties to raid third parties by allowing the usurper's name to actually appear on the ballot without the need to write it in.

Green Party rules do not allow candidates of other ballot qualified parties to run on their ballot line. The Board of Elections in the last election failed to enforce the rule, and allowed two Senate Democrats to appropriate the Green Party line through an opportunity to ballot petition.

"The Green Party and our members have a first amendment right to say that our candidates support our platform and refuse to accept contributions from corporate interests. Cuomo and the IDC aren't interested in preventing corruption. They just want to further weaken political parties and make it easier for the candidates with the most money to buy elections," stated Gloria Mattera, Green Party Co-Chairperson.

Allowing candidates to run on the ballot line of parties that they don't belong to just confuses voters.

The Green Party asserts that both laws (the existing opportunity to ballot and the new proposal) violates their constitutional first amendment right to freedom of association to determine who represents their party. Prior court decisions strongly support the right of the Green Party to determine who represents them on the ballot (e.g., California Democratic Party v Jones (2000) and New York State Board of Elections v Lopez Torres (2008).

Cuomo and the IDC are pretending that they are responding to the present Wilson-Pakula line that allows party leaders to sanction non-party candidates to receive the nomination of their party. Senator Malcolm Smith, a member of the IDC, has been indicted for attempting to bribe Republican party leaders in NYC to grant him a Wilson-Pakula. Rather than eliminating the ability of candidates to run in parties they don't belong to, Cuomo and the IDC want to allow candidates to raid as many parties as they want.