Green Party Says Democrats’ Efforts to Expand Voting Reform Needs to Include Third Parties

12/2/21 - Green Party leaders today called on the Legislature and Gov. Hochul to enact a “Gold Standard” ballot access bill that would expand voter choice in New York State.

While Green officials said they supported the Legislature’s renewed push to expand absentee ballot access and a voter registration deadline closer to Election Day, they also said that strengthening democracy requires Democrat Party lawmakers to reverse their recent efforts to kill the independent third parties in New York. Many political scientists point out that the United States’ unique lack of robust third parties among the world’s so-called democracies is a major cause of the present toxic politics in the country.

62 percent of Americans say Democrats and Republicans are doing such a poor job of representing their constituents that a third party is needed. The inherent problem with our current system is that it shoehorns the entire spectrum of political opinion into just two parties.

The Greens and other third parties are suing the state to overturn the draconian ballot access laws, enacted by Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers and designed to eliminate third parties that do not cross-endorse the major party candidates. New York and much of the United States make it far more difficult for parties and candidates to qualify for election than the rest of the world’s democracies.

“The Democrats need to dramatically reduce the number of votes and signatures needed for parties and candidates to run. The Green Party has long believed that votes for any statewide office should count towards ballot access, not just Governor and President. There should be other routes to ballot access as well, such as the number of statewide party registrants, which a number of states provide as an option. At a minimum, the statewide petition signatures required for ballot access should be lowered back to the manageable level of 15,000, and New York should enact a slated statewide petition that allows for ballot recognition at all levels in a given year as many other states permit,” said Gloria Mattera, party co-chair.

“Ballot access is a key part of a vibrant, grassroots electoral democracy. Under former Gov. Cuomo, New York took a large step backwards due to his desire to punish smaller parties like the Greens for daring to criticize his administration, part of a pattern of vindictiveness and intimidation which has stained our state’s reputation.  We support the Legislature’s efforts to ease access to voting in New York, and the other part of that equation is real choice in elections. Legislators have a chance to address both sides of the problem, and they should do so now,” said Peter LaVenia, party co-chair.