Stephen Reader covers politics for It's a Free Country, WNYC's interactive politics site. He joined the station in 2010 and has also worked for Studio 360, WNYC's Peabody Award-winning show about art, culture, and creativity.
So you want to join the exciting world of Empire State politics, but find yourself less than jazzed at the prospect of running as a either a Democrat or a Republican. An enterprising luminary such as yourself couldn't possible be tied down to the archaic two-party system. Your views are far too nuanced and innovative.
So why not start your own party? Put some flair on the ballot. Green, Independence, Conservative — yawn, yawn, yawn. You need something that pops, a name that shines as brightly as your amazing ideas for leading New York through the dismal swamp that is the 21st century.
In short, you need to start the Rent is 2 Damn High Party 2.0.
Words and patterns by Stephen Reader
In order to become an official political party in New York, you'll first need to get a gubernatorial candidate on the ballot. That means gathering 15,000 signatures statewide, and at least 100 signatures in each of half of the state's congressional districts, then submitting it to the State Board of Elections. Once you've done that, your candidate will appear on the ballot next to your brilliant party name come November.
If your candidate gets at least 50,000 votes in the general election, it'll qualify your party for automatic ballot access in the next election; that's the mark of an "official" party, of which New York has six (Democratic, Republican, Conservative, Independence, Green and Working Families).
The next gubernatorial election is 2014, giving you plenty of time to lay the groundwork and gather signatures. But first, you've got to come up with the all-important name, the one that's going to grab people's attention.
For that, we're here to help. And with New York already home to parties like the Marijuana Reform Party and the Tax Revolt Party, you need to go all in to stand out. Use our Political Party Name Generator to get the creative juices flowing, then tell us what you'd name your party.