More Candidates

The guiding philosophy behind Unite NY is More Voices, More Choices, and the only way that mantra comes to life is by changing New York’s burdensome ballot access laws that purposefully block the number of candidates that can attain a spot on the ballot.

Thanks to legislation passed a few years ago, New York’s major parties, and the bosses who run them, have successfully kept minor parties off the ballot, stiff-arming candidates whose only aim is to represent the needs of their potential constituents.

In order to achieve a fairer, more open state government, voters need choices that go beyond two options offered by the state’s major parties. Voters deserve to choose between candidates they select, not those chosen behind closed doors, because doing so often leads to voters having to choose between the lesser of two evils. Sadly, all too often that choice only encourages them to stay home, perpetuating New York’s two-party doom loop.

The need for change is urgent, as 3.4 million New Yorkers are now unaffiliated with either major party in New York. This group of unaffiliated, or “independent” voters, is now the second largest voting bloc in the state – more than the Republican, Working Families and Conservative parties COMBINED.

Ballot Access

How we got here

In 2020, legislation was approved that tripled the petition signatures required to qualify for a statewide ballot line. This increase, from 15,000 to 45,000 signatures, is more than the population of Binghamton. As a result, five of NY’s seven minor parties lost their statewide ballot line status and none of these groups were able to secure a position in 2022, leaving voters with only two choices for Governor for the first time since 1946.

Why it’s a problem

New petition standards destroyed the opportunity for minor parties to place candidates on the ballot, robbing New Yorkers of choices and successfully suppressing the issues these candidates could bring to the debate. This puts more power in the hands of a select few who choose the candidates for major parties, leaving voters feeling powerless. This feeling of powerlessness leads to decreased engagement, low voter turnout, and more power to those in charge.

What has to happen

Democracy is about choice, and in New York, voters are losing choices quickly. The only way to encourage fair, open elections, and elicit more candidates is to restore ballot access requirements to pre-2020 levels and give voters the choices they deserve.

Want to Help?

Click here to volunteer or donate to Unite NY today.

“Our political system isn’t broken.
It’s fixed.”

Katherine Gehl

Unite NY is tracking legislation in New York that will drive real change and improve our democracy. Check these bills out and let your Senator or Assemblymember know you support this legislation too!  Use these links to find your NYS Senator or find your NYS Assemblymember.


Bill Number: A3312
AM: Blackenbush (R)
Relates to the number of signatures for independent nominating petitions; decreases the number of signatures and votes to 15,000 signatures for statewide candidates and 50,000 votes to maintain party ballot status; changes the petition period to 12 weeks and the petitioning time to May-August.