Shortly after Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed an election law change yesterday that could upend New York’s minor political parties, the labor-backed Working Families Party pushed back.
The WFP, a left-leaning party that has cross-endorsed a number of Democratic candidates in the Legislature, took issue with Cuomo’s push to repeal the state’s Wilson Pakula law, which allows candidates to run on a party’s ballot line (with the permission of party leaders) even if they aren’t registerred with that group.
Dan Cantor, executive director of the WFP, said the state needs “more democracy, not less.”
“The Governor’s proposal to limit minor parties is a distraction from the real problem in our political system, which is the influence of big money, and that’s something only public financing of elections can fix,” Cantor said in a statement.
A public campaign financing option is something Cuomo supports. But he has taken issue with the Wilson Pakula system, which was at the center of bribery charges levied earlier this month against Sen. Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, who prosecutors have accused of trying to buy his way on the Republican line in the New York City mayor’s race.
“Eliminating the Wilson-Pakula rules won’t do anything to address the real problem in Albany, which is a system that allows big money and corporate interests to dominate decision-making,” said Bob Master, a union official who is co-chair of the WFP. “It will undermine the integrity of minor parties, which are a vital element of our state’s vigorous democracy.”
Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long has also expressed opposition to repealing Wilson Pakula.