What is a political party? It can be defined as “a group of persons organized to acquire and exercise political power”. But New York has a stricter definition of the concept and it is possible that it would have been a disaster if had existed in the past, at least according to a new article ballot access expert, Richard Winger. Winger writes:
Last year, the New York definition of party was changed. The old definition was a group that had polled 50,000 votes for Governor. The new definition is a group that polled 2% for the office at the top of the ticket (president in presidential years; governor in midterm years).
If this law had been in effect in 1900, the Socialist Party would not have gained qualified status in 1900. Eugene Debs did not poll much as 1% in New York that year, much less 2%. In reality, the party did win qualified status that year; it polled the necessary 10,000 votes for Governor (back then, New York elected a Governor every two years). Also, in 1936, Norman Thomas did not poll as much as 2% for president in New York, and the party would have lost its qualified status that year. In reality it did retain its status in 1936.
The Law Preservation Party would have lost its qualified status in 1932 because it did not run a presidential candidate. Although the Law Preservation Party has largely been forgotten, it had substantial support in 1930 and 1932. It was the vehicle for voters who wanted to keep prohibition of beverage alcohol.
Read the full article here.