MOVE Act is Harming New York’s Minor Parties


The Federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) under Attorney General Jeff Sessions is hampering the ability of minor parties to get their candidates on the ballot.

The Libertarian Party of New York (LPNY) first brought this problem to the attention of the DOJ in 2013, but to no avail. With the DOJ’s approval, a New York Federal court ordered the 2014 and 2016 separation of the petitioning periods for federal and state Minor Party candidates (bifurcation).

New York State is currently out of compliance with the MOVE Act. As a result, the DOJ just consented to another court ordered bifurcation of the petitioning periods for federal and state Minor Party candidates for 2018, as proposed by defendant New York State Board of Elections.

If so ordered, the petitioning period for state and local minor party candidates will remain the same but the petitioning period for federal minor party candidates will be moved three weeks earlier into the year.

To get candidates on the ballot, minor parties in New York must gather thousands of signatures over a six week period. Prior to the MOVE Act multiple state and federal candidates could appear on a single petition. The creation of separate petitioning periods for federal and state candidates in 2014 and 2016 doubled the number of signatures required. The LPNY and related political groups experienced dramatically increased expenses and volunteer burnout.

In order to maintain or obtain recognized party status in New York a political party must, among other things, run a candidate for governor. Bifurcation will result in fewer minor party federal candidates appearing on the 2018 ballot.

The LPNY again recently informed the DOJ’s attorneys responsible for enforcing the MOVE Act in New York of the hardship faced by New York’s minor parties. Again, its pleas fell on deaf ears. The DOJ indicated it again will not oppose the bifurcation proposed by the defendant New York State Board of Elections, which, by law, is controlled by the two major parties.

Blay Tarnoff, LPNY Secretary and long-time member of the LPNY has seen the negative impact and hardship that bifurcation has caused and wrote to the LPNY State Committee stating. “This is simply another outrageous example of how the ruling parties seek to consolidate their own power under the auspices of ‘helping’ the people,” he said “In this case, while claiming to help the troops, they are simply abusing the power granted to them by the people to kill their own political competition, while simultaneously harming the very troops they are claiming to help. “

Mark Glogowski, the Chairman of the LPNY commented, “New York State is out of compliance with the MOVE Act, requiring the DOJ to take action. The LPNY has attempted to intervene. We suggested an alternate solution with a non-bifurcated petitioning period. It was rejected. A more permanent solution proposed by LPNY attorney Gary Donoyan requires the NYS Legislature to do its job and pass a bill that specifies a single petitioning period that complies with the MOVE Act. It is my hope that members of the NYS Senate and Assembly will be receptive to Mr. Donoyan’s recommendations and bring NYS into compliance with the letter, intent, and spirit of the MOVE act to the benefit of all.”

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