Friday, October 06, 2006

New York as a Model?

Believe it or not, some folks in Massachusetts are holding New York out as a paradigm of democracy. No, they're not talking about our highly representative and accountable legislature, democratic process for selecting judges, or model campaign finance laws (they may not live in New York, but they're not stupid). Rather, they hope to emulate something the Brennan Center has also touted: in New York, candidates can be listed on the ballot next to more than one party, giving smaller “party designations” a real shot at reaching the threshold for being considered an officially recognized party (for example, the "Independence Party," the "Conservative Party," and, of course, the "Working Families Party."). This gives smaller parties some power while avoiding the spoiler problem a la Ralph Nader in 2000. According to the Daily Item, an independent newspaper in MA:
In a New York election, the Democratic nominee listed on the ballot for a statewide office might also be listed for that office on the same ballot as the Working Party candidate. Voters supporting that candidate, then, would have a choice of casting their vote for the candidate as a Democrat or Working Families party candidate.
Voters in Massachusetts this November will decide on Question 2, which would make the state’s ballots work in much the same way that New York's do. Opponents say this move would cause voter confusion, but supporters argue that the system works well in New York and allows third parties to have a real stake in elections. The Brennan Center recognizes the constructive role third parties play in increasing the two-party system's responsiveness in New York; it's nice to know New York may be exporting some constructive, democratic ideas.

Categories: General, Voting

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