Election 2020 New York Voting

Stacy Glass marks her ballot during the first hour of voting Nov. 3, 2020, at Madison Square Garden in New York.

(The Center Square) – Leaders of the Green and Libertarian parties could not garner enough votes in the Nov. 3 election to automatically retain ballot access in New York, but their legal action contesting the state’s new requirements continues.

New York in December 2019 increased the mandatory number of votes to maintain ballot status from 50,000 to 130,000.

Leaders for both parties have said they still plan to have candidates run in local races in 2021, the Times Union of Albany reported.

“If they don't appear on the ballot, people who want to vote for the Greens or Libertarians will have to write their candidates in,” James Battista, associate professor of political science at the University at Buffalo, told The Center Square by email.

“Realistically, this will mean that only committed Greens or Libertarians are likely to vote for their respective parties, instead of the current situation where some number of people end up voting for Green or Libertarian presidential candidates as protest votes," said Battista.

The state also raised the number of signatures required for independent nominating petitions from 15,000 to 45,000. Battista noted that 45,000 signatures is not particularly high compared to other large states.

“This shouldn't materially affect the long-term viability or health of either the Libertarians or Greens,” Battista said, “Like all minor parties, their core problem is not gaining access to the ballot. Their core problem is that the kind of talented, ambitious people who are good at winning elections (or would be if they ran) almost never ally themselves with a minor party, because the minor party can't help them win in any realistic way.”

This can leave minor parties with candidates who aren’t very good at campaigning, or are more about an exercise in displaying ideological purity than a sincere attempt to win, said Battista.

“This vicious cycle where a party can't get good-at-winning candidates because they don't win because they can't get good-at-winning candidates is very hard to break,” said Battista, “It does mean that Greens and Libertarians might be motivated to concentrate more on down-ballot races like state Assembly or local races, but those are the keys to real long-term success at any rate.”