The Unite NY Strategy

Advancing Bipartisanship

People over Party

Unite NY has been established in the wake of the most toxic and antagonistic political environment of our lifetime. Following decades of drifting away from bipartisanship as a useful tool to leverage common sense results, the last several years have seen a stark departure to an era of violent protest and vitriolic rhetoric. Unite NY believes that if we are to ever expect to fix an utterly broken State and system, we need to seek common sense solutions, work across party lines, and support leaders that look to solve problems rather than settle scores.

Unite NY was established in 2021 as a new home for New Yorkers of all political persuasions — Republicans, Democrats, and independents — who have grown tired of the constant fighting and animosity of politics and instead seek a path of level-headed reform and growth. Whether talking about job creation, open government, or political reform, neither Party should own credit or blame, but rather Unite NY will seek to bring all New Yorkers together to build a better tomorrow. That’s because we believe in People over Party.

Extremes in both Parties are pulling candidates further away from the moderate place where most voters reside. Recent polling conducted on our behalf by John Zogby showed that a vast majority of New York voters believe the Parties are too extreme and have left voters behind. We’ve seen this at the national level and unfortunately now at the State level.

Unite NY has begun working with candidates and leaders in both major Parties, as well as independents on issues and common sense solutions because we believe that we are all New Yorkers first. We want to support candidates who will fight for what is right, who will work across Party lines, and who will seek out what is best for their communities, not just placating Party bosses.

Offering an Alternative to Major Parties

Taking Control Back from Party Bosses

In New York, most candidates for office seek the blessing of political party bosses before they even announce they’re running. That’s because in New York, getting a candidate on the ballot can be challenging, and Party bosses are the gatekeeper to that process. That means Party bosses call many of the shots, deciding what candidate can run for what offices, punishing candidates that don’t toe the Party line and stifling democracy in the process. However, outside of the two major parties, there is a way for candidates and voters to stick it to the bosses.

Few folks realize that candidate vote totals on all ballot lines are combined through a process called Fusion Voting. For example, a candidate’s vote totals on the Republican and Conservative line are combined for candidate’s the total vote count. This is an important aspect of voting in New York, as various ballot lines can be secured by different Parties and groups that represent different priorities and issues. If a candidate secures other ballot lines, they can impact a race significantly, regardless of what a Party boss thinks.

For example, for years, there were as many as nine different ballot lines for candidates to be listed upon and these lines represented a variety of issues voters cared about. These interests range from lowering taxes, to opposing Common Core, to even the Rent Is Too High. These specific issues-oriented ballot lines are important because voters’ voices were even louder — by making their selection, a voter could not just choose a candidate, but also speak out on specific issues they were passionate about. Our Founder, Martin Babinec recently wrote the Buffalo News on this topic. If you’re interested in learning more about Fusion Voting, there’s a great white paper on the Brennan Center for Justice’s website that explains it.

Unite NY is seeking our own Statewide ballot line so that candidates seeking common sense solutions can be clearly identified on the ballot and voters of all Parties can vote them into office. This will allow voters to know they will be electing candidates they can trust to stand up for what’s right — not just what Party bosses demand.

Securing a ballot line

Giving a Voice to Independent Voters

Since fusion voting provides this unique opportunity for an independent organization like Unite NY to have an impact, Unite NY will be tackling the difficult task of establishing our own statewide ballot line. To have that impact, Unite NY will be working to secure this statewide ballot line access through the 2022 Gubernatorial election so voters can make their voices heard on important issues of reform.

Gaining that ballot line will not be easy. For many years, to secure a ballot line in New York, an independent body needed to gather 15,000 signatures on petitions statewide, then earn at least 50,000 votes for their candidate for Governor. However, after an attempt to raise that bar was thrown out by the courts, Governor Cuomo, and the Legislature last year passed special legislation in the middle of the night at the end of session under the guise of COVID relief to increase those thresholds. Today the power brokers in Albany have TRIPLED the number of signatures required to 45,000 and required more than 150,000 votes to secure a line.  It is truly infuriating and unfair, but Unite NY will work tirelessly to fight against this unjust system and work hard for all New Yorkers. Learn more about securing ballot access.

No matter what issues you care about, our broken political system stands in the way of solutions. How can you help? Unite NY needs supporters to volunteer and donate to help us advance the cause. Join us today!

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