Warren slams New York effort to undermine third parties

Warren slams New York effort to undermine third parties
© Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds On The Money: Half of states deplete funds for Trump's 0 unemployment expansion | EU appealing ruling in Apple tax case | House Democrats include more aid for airlines in coronavirus package Warren, Khanna request IG investigation into Pentagon's use of coronavirus funds MORE (D-Mass.), a leading presidential candidate, criticized a proposal reportedly backed by the New York State Democratic Party's chairman that would make it more difficult for third parties to get candidates on the ballot. 

Warren called the proposal “deeply undemocratic.” 

“This proposal comes from, of all places, a commission meant to improve our democracy. But attacking the @NYWFP is deeply undemocratic—and it will only benefit Republicans. No Democrat should allow this to pass,” Warren tweeted, referring to the New York Working Families Party.

According to The New York Times, state Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs proposed in a private email to a group of state commissioners reviewing New York election law that the state quintuple the number of votes a party needs to grab a spot on the ballot — from 50,000 to 250,000. 

The Times notes that most minor parties have fallen short of collecting the 250,000 votes, including the Working Families Party. The only minor party to get more than 250,000 votes in recent years is the state's Conservative Party, Times noted. 

The Working Families Party endorsed Warren in her presidential bid last month. 

Jacobs told the Times that the proposal is aimed at rooting out “sham” parties that he said trade spots on the ballot for political favors, though he did not name which parties he was referring to.

“A lot of people have been getting away with an awful lot for a long time,” Jacobs told the newspaper. “In my mind, it will be better overall if elections are run with only really credible parties.”

Jacobs also told the Times the details of the proposal were not yet final and said he hasn’t discussed it with the fellow commissioners that would have to approve it by a vote.  

The Times reported that some observers have accused Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoOvernight Health Care: Trump signs largely symbolic pre-existing conditions order amid lawsuit | White House puts off action on surprise medical bills | Rising coronavirus cases spark fears of harsh winter NY health officials to review any vaccine approved by Trump Americans splurging on Halloween candy MORE (D) of trying to undermine the Working Families Party through Jacobs’s proposal.

“It’s not our proposal, but ultimately legislators would have the option to weigh in on what the commission ultimately decides,” Cuomo’s senior adviser, Richard Azzopardi, said in a statement to The Hill.

Spokespeople for Cuomo and the New York State Democratic Party were not immediately available for comment when contacted by The Hill in response to Warren’s tweet.