Published in
The Empire

Party Shuffle

In New York, political parties win or lose their position on the ballot based on the number of votes they get in a gubernatorial election.

Which is today.

Ballot position is part bragging rights, part political philosophy, and, in a very real way, an existential challenge (because what is a political party that doesn't have a designated slot on a ballot?).

A spokesman for the Working Families Party, Dan Levitan, chatted with me just now about where he and other minor parties may end up after tonight.

Levitan said rows "A and B don’t matter" since those will be held by either Democrats or Republicans for the forseeable future. Voters are used to seeing those two parties battle it out there, he said.

"But it does matter who comes after that. We’re the third time [Cuomo] is listed on the ballot. It makes it harder [for us]. If we were the second time, it would be easier," he said.

Cuomo is also appearing on the Democratic, and Independence Party lines.

The reason why ballot position matters, according to Levitan, is that "it’s easier to find. The closer you are to the major parties and the farther you are from the Marijuana party, the better you are."

Levitan's prediction: "I don’t think existing minor parties will change ballot position."

(A party needs to get at least 50,000 votes on their line in the governor's race to keep a designated row on the ballot for the next four years. If a party doesn't get that, they have to go through a painstaking and costly petition process to reappear.)