This year, the Governor of New York cooked up a plan to make it far harder for any third parties in the state to have a line on the ballot during elections. A long-standing rule in Empire State election law set a minimum bar for how many voters needed to mark their ballot on a third party’s line during a presidential election. If they managed to meet that minimum, then they would automatically be on the ballot in subsequent years through the following presidential race. If they didn’t, they would have to go through the tedious process of collecting a sufficient number of signatures to get back on the ballot next time. But Andrew Cuomo used his control of the process to more than double the number of votes that would be required. The two biggest parties that came under threat were the Conservative Party of New York State and the very liberal Working Families Party. Election day came, however, and delivered some bad news for Cuomo. Both parties exceeded the required total and will keep their ballot lines. (NY Post)

Kudos to the Conservative and Working Families parties for frustrating Gov. Cuomo’s bid to kill them off.

The gov engineered an out-of-the-blue rewrite of state election law, making it far harder for minor parties to earn an automatic line on ballots for the next four years.

Cuomo has resented the WFP since it dumped him in 2018 in favor of the far-left-leaning Cynthia Nixon. So he got the commission that was writing new campaign-finance rules to strike…

But both parties did it — getting votes on their lines for Donald Trump and Joe Biden, respectively.

As noted, the old minimum required the party to have 50,000 votes cast on their line. It seems like a reasonable number because it allows for some serious competition against the Democrats and Republicans without expanding the ballot to be the size of a short novel with hundreds of spurious parties that may only have a few hundred (or a few dozen) supporters and no chance of significantly influencing the election. But Cuomo had the commission in charge of writing the campaign finance rules amend that requirement so the party would need 2 percent of the state’s total presidential vote or 130,000 votes, whichever is higher.

Both of the parties mentioned above registered more than the required 130,000 votes, so they will retain their spots on the ballot. Cuomo did manage to knock off the Serve America Movement Party, however. That wasn’t much of an impactful outcome, though, since they didn’t even field or endorse a candidate for President.

Part of the Post’s explanation for Cuomo’s actions makes sense. He was angry at the Working Families Party for endorsing Cynthia Nixon over him during the Democratic primary leading up to his last election. And it goes without saying that he never liked the Conservative Party because we seek out candidates that are the polar opposite of his own liberal policies. (Disclosure: I’m a member of the Conservative Party in New York.) But that doesn’t mean he should use his umbrage as an excuse to effectively eliminate two parties that have been around for generations.

I will take exception with some parts of the Post’s editorial, however. The editors say that they are “overall sick of the games minor parties play in local politics.” They go on to suggest that we need to put an end to cross-endorsements and make each party field a candidate of their own. Both of these attacks are baseless and unwise. The Conservative Party is a good example of why. Rather than “playing games,” the Conservative Party acts as a counterweight to the worst instincts of the NY State GOP, which often becomes enamored of very liberal Republicans. If their candidate is reasonably conservative, the party will endorse them and put them on our ballot line. If they stray too far to the left, we put a third candidate of our own choosing there.

As you can see from the numbers posted above, the Conservative Party draws a lot of votes. A Republican who fails to get the Conservative Party’s endorsement has a much steeper hill to climb if they hope to win a race in this state. I imagine that things are very similar for the Working Families Party and the Democrats. Knocking either of them off the ballot only strengthens the idea that the two major parties are the only ones entitled to play on the big field. It’s not right and it shouldn’t be tolerated.