“Massive Ballot Access Defeat in New York”


On February 10, the Second Circuit refused to enjoin the new New York definition of a qualified political party. SAM Party of New York v Kosinski, 20-3047. Here is the twenty-page opinion, which was written by Judge Michael H. Park, a Trump appointee. It is also signed by Judge Robert D. Sack, a Clinton appointee, and Steven J. Menashi, a Trump appointee.

The new definition requires a party to poll 2% of the presidential vote to retain its qualified status. The decision says there are two state interests in the new, more difficult requirement: (1) to improve the chances that the winner will get a majority of the popular vote; (2) to save money, because the state now has public funding for candidates for state office, although it doesn’t start until 2024.

Both justifications are utterly without merit. Point one could be solved if the state used ranked choice voting. Point two is easily rebutted by pointing out that the Second Circuit already ruled in a Connecticut case that states need not provide public funding to minor parties or independent candidates.


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