Enrolling in the Libertarian Party in New York State

Is your political party affiliation at the New York State Board of Elections (NYS BoE) correct, or is it wrongfully listed as “BLANK”?

Find out for sure. Go to: https://voterlookup.elections.state.ny.us/votersearch.aspx

The Libertarian Party of New York (LPNY) is growing, but two barriers have impeded the party’s growth. The first barrier was that for the first 43 years of our existence the Libertarian Party actually encouraged Libertarians to enroll in other political parties. The thought was we could best make changes in society by influencing other parties from the inside. The primary consequence of this policy was a lack of growth in the number of registered voters affiliated with the Libertarian Party. That number today is embarrassingly not very large.

After the 2014 election, it was clear our effort to influence other political parties from inside was a tactic that was not working.

In 2015, the focus of the LPNY changed. We decided to strive to become a dynamic political force in New York state of our own right. We cannot accomplish the latter goal without increasing the number of registered voters affiliated with the Libertarian Party. We set off in that direction and began asking people to register and affiliate with the Libertarian Party – and then ran straight into the devastating second barrier – the flawed records of county Board of Elections (BoE) and their management practices.

The record keeping and management practices of the county BoEs concerning Libertarians’ were atrocious. Libertarians were knowingly and deliberately being registered and enrolled in the Liberal Party (LIB), recorded as wanting No Official Party (NOP), or recorded as having a political affiliation of NONE. Many county BoE’s since 2012 were just enrolling Libertarians as OTHER and failing to record or report their Libertarian Party affiliation to the NYS BoE. All of these records ended up in the NYS BoE files with the person’s party affiliation showing up as BLANK. The county BoEs practices were so bad that in some counties only a tiny percentage of people attempting to register and affiliate with the Libertarian Party ever succeeded in having their records properly indicate their party affiliation. There are counties where not one Libertarian was ever properly affiliated with the Libertarian Party.

After years of such wrongful recordkeeping, the result today is an inability to identify and correspond directly with a projected tens of thousands of Libertarians who now have flawed NYS BoE records.

In late 2015, the poor record keeping practices of the county BoEs was tackled head on. Unfortunately, it took a couple of years to gather together information on the complaints being levied. Those complaints had to be verified and then the nature and cause of the error investigated. Numerous errors were documented and investigated. Toward the end of the summer of 2017 a comprehensive report was created and presented to the Commissioners of the NYS BoE.

As a result of that report, after the 2017 general election the NYSBoE issued an internal MEMO. ThatMEMO instructed county BoE’s that they have an obligation to create accurate voter registration records that properly reflect the party affiliation of those individuals who desire to affiliate with the Libertarian Party. The county BoEs were also informed that they have an obligation to pass that information along accurately to the NYS BoE.

If you attempted to register and affiliate with the Libertarian Party and your NYS BoE information is incorrect, do not just fill out another voter registration form and wait until after the 2018 general election. In all likelihood nothing will change. Instead, make a copy of the MEMO and take it down to your county’s BoE, request to see the voter registration form you filed, verify that you checked the box OTHER and wrote LIBERTARIAN on the line, point that fact out to the clerk and then ask that they fix your record. It should be fixed immediately. You should receive a corrected voter registration card within days, and once corrected, the NYS BoE file should be updated with the next monthly update from the county. If they indicate they can’t or won’t fix your file immediately, give the clerk a copy of the MEMO , then ask to talk with an Election Commissioner.

When you are properly registered and affiliated with the Libertarian Party your party affiliation should be displayed as OTHER-Libertarian or OTH-LBT, or OTH-Libertarian.

If you take these steps to correct your voter registration party affiliation information and you are not satisfied with the results, contact me at mglogowski@ny.lp.org.