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Letter: Minor parties give a voice to independent voters

Letter: Minor parties give a voice to independent voters

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The June 3 Buffalo News editorial, “New York can bid good riddance to Green, Independence parties – and all the other minor parties, too,” argues for the largest disenfranchisement of voters in New York State history.

In last year’s Covid-19 relief bill, New York tripled vote totals required for minor parties to stay on the ballot, leaving more than 500,000 people in this state without a political party.

In New York, there are now far more voters not enrolled in a party than there are registered Republicans. Enabling fewer parties and making it harder for candidates to get on the ballot doesn’t help an electorate that is increasingly shut out of the process. Actions like these fuel anger and division that drive events like the Jan. 6 insurrection.

New York is in the minority with a closed primary that leaves unaffiliated voters with no ability to vote in already low-turnout primary elections that often decide winners in uncompetitive general election races.

Voters understand that our political system would be strengthened with more choice, not less. Consolidating power to major party bosses and fewer primary voters weakens the influence of voters and is the reason movements like Unite NY are gaining momentum.

The path to engaging the electorate is by increasing choices and changing the system by putting more power in the hands of the people. This is doable (as demonstrated by most other states) through ranked choice voting (currently being used in New York City), open primaries and vote-from-home initiatives.

Saying good riddance to other parties emphasizes that these reforms won’t come from inside the two major parties as it diminishes the tight grip enjoyed on the entire process. We need a new movement that gives voters louder voice and puts people over party.

Martin Babinec,

Founder Unite NY

Little Falls

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