The New York Democratic Party is once again using its control over a new commission (authorized by Democrat governor Andrew Cuomo) regarding New York’s public campaign finance system to raise the standards for third parties to get on the ballot – seemingly as a mechanism to attack the biggest drain of progressive voters outside of the Democrats, that being the extremely progressive Working Families Party.
According to Akela Lacy, a reporter for The Intercept, by raising the ballot access measures to make party qualification even more difficult to achieve, the “state Democrats go against national party leaders, who have spoken out against attempts by the state party to end the WFP’s ballot line.
Both party leaders and the WFP said the change would also build a structural advantage for Republicans in swing districts across the state by eliminating the WFP’s margins and boosting numbers for the state’s biggest minor party, the right-leaning Conservative Party.”
Partisan politics aside regardless of where you land on the political spectrum, those who value a fair field of play for all to participate in a representative-democracy must agree that efforts by one party to suppress the access to the ballot of another party go against the system we as Americans inherently value.
Lacy points at that in New York currently, “a party has to petition to get on the ballot, and then receive 50,000 votes in a gubernatorial election in order to qualify as a party for the next four years, without having to go back through the arduous petition process.” This new proposal by the commission would “raise that threshold to 2 percent of total voter turnout every two years in gubernatorial and presidential races, or 130,00 votes, whichever is higher.”
For all third parties across the country, these new standards would virtually wipe out third party electoral participation since the highest concentration of money, authority, and media attention is almost always focused on the big two parties – Democrats and Republicans.
By constantly changing the existing standards to make third party participation even more difficult, Democrats and Republicans not only suppress the voices of independents but also choose to ignore issues that neither party wishes to bring up.
Because of this process, real, significant electoral change is almost near impossible in a world where a large portion of the voting population is simply excluded from discussing the issues that directly affect their lives.