The SAM Party announced Tuesday it will challenge Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, legislative leaders and the State Board of Elections over new rules that could bar it and similar minor parties from the New York ballot.
SAM, which stands for Serve America Movement, was launched in 2018 as part of former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie A. Miner’s gubernatorial candidacy. It filed its suit Tuesday in Manhattan federal court to prevent implementation of a new state election law requiring all political parties to run a presidential candidate this year, and receive 2% of the total vote or 130,000 votes to maintain a statewide ballot line.
In arguments similar to those launched by the state’s Conservative and Working Families parties in a separate lawsuit, SAM-NY claims the law violates the state Constitution.
“Requiring the SAM Party of New York to nominate a candidate for president or lose ‘party’ status imposes a severe burden” on SAM and its members, the complaint said. “In imposing that requirement, the Commission’s recommendations, now law, violate the First and 14th amendments.”
The suit seeks to bar enforcement of the requirements against SAM.
Prior to the new law, parties seeking automatic ballot access needed to receive 50,000 votes in the prior gubernatorial election. In the 2018, SAM satisfied the prior requirement and was headed for ballot status until at least 2022.
In its suit, the party notes the new presidential requirement was imposed without a vote in the Legislature and denies SAM its ability to build a new political party.
“Everything about this effort to suppress political competition, including how it was enacted, represents how the current two-party system wields its power to rig the system in its favor,” said Michael Volpe, SAM chairman. “With the imposition of this requirement, New Yorkers are denied the ability to choose candidates who are willing to be held accountable for their actions, candidates who oppose party power politics and demand transparency in all decisions, and candidates who at all times require that decisions be made based on the needs of citizens and not the needs of party bosses.”