Today, the New York Times published a letter to the editor I wrote. My letter was triggered by an editorial the Times wrote on May 6th about the Independence Party.
My letter and their article is below–Hope you will give both a read and I would love to hear your thoughts.
The Opinion Pages | LETTER
The New York State Independence Party
MAY 14, 2014
Re “Independent of the Independence Party” (editorial, May 7), calling on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York to reject the party’s endorsement:
I disagree about how the state Independence Party survives. It’s not because of “confusion” among voters. It’s because of complicity by the two major parties.
The Democratic and Republican Parties — each in its own way — supported, enticed and rewarded the corruption of state Independence Party leaders. The only resistance to that corruption came from the pro-reform New York City branch of the party, which had helped to elect Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and pursued nonpartisan reform at every turn.
Oh, well. If the point is that parties breed corruption, maybe it’s time to get rid of parties, period.
CATHY L. STEWART
New York, May 7, 2014
The writer is chairwoman of the New York County Independence Party.
New York’s Independence Party survives on confusion. Many who sign up with the party think they are registering as independent voters, unaffiliated with any party. Instead they are unwittingly contributing their names to a bizarre and fractious political group that endorses candidates from the two major parties. The Independence Party should lose its prime place on the state ballot, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo could make that happen by rejecting its endorsement this year.
Rob Astorino, a Westchester County Republican running in the governor’s race this year, has said he will not seek or accept the Independence Party nod. Mr. Cuomo should now do the same. Any party needs 50,000 votes or more in a governor’s race to stay on state ballots for the next four years. The Independence Party would certainly reach that critical number if the Cuomo or Astorino name is on its line.
Mr. Astorino, who once courted Independence Party leaders to help him win as county executive in Westchester, has finally decided the party is “part of a very corrupt system. They don’t stand for a thing other than jobs and for themselves.” The party has been very good at getting candidates like former Mayor Michael Bloomberg to donate money and run under the Independence Party banner. But its ideals are confused, at best.
The Daily News in 2012 interviewed 200 New Yorkers who signed up as Independence Party voters and found that 169 of them thought they were not joining any party at all. Mr. Cuomo could end this charade. If he refuses to allow his name on the Independence Party line, the party could disappear.
New York’s voting system, which allows a candidate’s name to appear on several party lines on the ballot, is archaic and confusing. Last year, Mr. Cuomo proposed repealing the 1947 law that allows minor parties to give their ballot lines to nonparty members — usually candidates running in the two major parties.
At the time, he said the system encourages “corruption and the appearance of corruption.” He was right, but he did not champion reform aggressively. He could help end this bad practice by saying no to the Independence Party line this year.