The Sinister Attack on Ballot Access in New York

In 2018 the Libertarian Party of New York earned automatic ballot access for the first time in history thanks to the gubernatorial ticket of Larry Sharpe and Andrew Hollister. LPNY needed to gather a minimum of 15,000 signatures during a six-week period to get our statewide candidates on the ballot. In the end, we collected more than 31,000 signatures

Under the laws at the time, earning more than 50,000 votes in the gubernatorial race guaranteed ballot access — the Sharpe/Hollister ticket earned 95,033 votes, giving LPNY ballot access through 2022.

Several Libertarians in New York were elected to local office in 2019, and in 2020 we were able to get a historic number of Libertarian candidates on the ballot for state and federal offices. Additionally, we were able to place our Presidential ticket, Jo Jorgensen and Spike Cohen, on the ballot in New York without the need to gather signatures.

However, in late 2019, now disgraced Governor Cuomo established a “Public Campaign Finance” Commission, purportedly to develop plans for public financing of elections. Instead, the commission unexpectedly introduced measures that TRIPLED vote thresholds for maintaining ballot access, TRIPLED the minimum number of signatures that must be collected for a statewide candidate to reach the ballot, and DOUBLED the frequency for when the state party must provide ballot access qualifications. If all of that wasn’t enough, the commissars moved the signature collecting window from the summer, when New Yorkers are out and about, to the late winter/early spring, when it is obviously much more difficult to find people willing to talk to someone outside.

A lawsuit was filed by two alternative parties, and the commission that recommended these measures was declared unconstitutional. Nevertheless, in April 2020, under cover of the pandemic and New York’s draconian COVID-19 lockdown, the commission’s recommendations were re-introduced and ratified along with the New York State FY21 Budget.

The Libertarian Party of New York and the Green Party of New York have filed a joint Federal lawsuit in the Southern District of New York. We have been denied a request for a temporary injunction, and this decision is currently under appeal in the Second Circuit. No final decision has been rendered in our case. We must prepare for whatever ruling is made.

It will cost no less than $250,000 for paid petitioners to give us any chance of getting our candidates on the statewide ballot and to attempt to regain automatic ballot access. Stacey Prussman, who is currently running an active campaign for New York City mayor, already had to spend approximately $12,000 to stay on the ballot.

These requirements may seem arbitrary, but they are a targeted and intentional attack on the Libertarian Party. They know the use of party resources – time, money, and talent – necessary to get our candidates on the ballot will detract from promoting our candidates and our message. If the Libertarian Party of New York is going to continue to be a presence, we are going to need assistance.

Your donation to the Ballot Access fund is critical to keeping the Libertarian Party alive and fighting, not just in New York, but in every state where voters are looking for something better than the lies they’ve been sold for so long. 

You can support the LP’s ballot access fund up to a maximum $36,500 annually. Very few can make such a commitment, but every dollar you can give will be spent to keep and protect a Libertarian Party in every state, for every voter, no matter how they try to stop us.