Nonpartisan Reform Organization Unite NY, Joined by the Green Party, Calls on Democratic Party Insiders to Halt its Attempt to Block Ballot Access for Independent Voices and Stifle Voter Choice
Albany, NY – In a blatant attempt to stifle voices of independent voters, Democratic party insiders are seeking to keep seven different independent organizations from attaining ballot lines in the race for Governor of New York in the November 2022 general election.
Showing a brazen, Cuomo/Trumpian effort to maintain power and stifle competition, two Democratic party insiders have challenged the independent nominating petitions of every organization seeking a ballot line for their Gubernatorial candidate this year, Underlings of Democratic State Chair Jay Jacobs and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan filed challenges to each petition filed for candidates running in competition with NY Governor Kathy Hochul. The intended outcome of these challenges would result in depriving voters from being able to choose anyone beyond the winners of the two major party primaries.
This especially dubious action comes on the heels of former Governor Cuomo’s assault on third parties seeking to build their following. In 2020, as part of an emergency Covid relief bill, the disgraced Governor (with approval of his then-Lt. Governor Hochul) successfully forwarded legislation tripling the signature and vote requirements needed to qualify and maintain a statewide ballot line – legislation which resulted in five of New York’s seven minor parties subsequently losing their statewide ballot line status.
Fewer candidates being visible to voters does one thing: further consolidates the hold leaders in major parties have on deciding which candidates advance to appear on the general election ballot in November.
To make matters worse, organizations seeking a ballot line this year were also required to get at least 500 signatures from more than half of the 26 congressional districts in New York State.
After the Democratic controlled legislature drew unfair, heavily gerrymandered new district lines that were ruled unconstitutional by New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, a special master drew new, more fair district lines. These lines were still being created while the independent petitioning process was already underway, making compliance nearly impossible. This failure has thrown the election cycle into pure chaos and placed additional hurdles on groups who are trying to give voters another voice at the ballot box.
Still not satisfied with their efforts to allow a free and open election with competing candidates on other lines, Democratic party insiders are now attempting to bully these independent petitioners off the ballot, challenging the nominating petitions circulated on behalf of gubernatorial candidates seeking to run on the Independence, Green, Unite, Libertarian, Freedom, New Visions, and Parent lines.
Unite NY Founder Martin Babinec said, “New York’s 3.5 million unaffiliated voters (not enrolled in a party) are the second largest and fastest growing block of voters in the state. Not surprisingly, more people signed independent nominating petitions for Governor than at any time in New York’s history. As reflected in our statewide polling across all categories of voters to construct the Voter Empowerment Index, a strong majority are clamoring for more choice than simply picking “the lesser of two evils” by seeing only winners of the two major parties under our closed primary system. The Democratic Party’s blanket challenge across the entire field of minor party candidates sends a clear and unequivocal message: We’re in charge and will do all in our power to thwart others from competing with us.”
Howie Hawkins, the Green nominee for Governor said, “The Democratic leadership is fundamentally anti-democratic. Instead of letting the voters choose, they passed the most restrictive ballot access law in the country to eliminate their competition. They passed this exclusionary ballot access law with super-majorities in both chambers of the legislature. Party suppression is what authoritarian governments do. It is what the Democrats now do in the one-party state of New York. Shame on the Democrats.”
About Unite NY
Unite NY is a new political home in New York State for Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, liberals, and independents to come together to seek common sense solutions. Focused on a non-partisan approach to fixing real problems in our government, democracy, and economy, Unite NY supports candidates who understand working together is the only way we can succeed. Learn more at www.UniteNY.org.