New York lawmakers, attempting to cut down on voter confusion when they register to cast ballots, want to take the "independence" out of political party names.
A bil heading to Gov. Kathy Hochul's desk will bar state political parties in New York from using the words "independence" or "independent" in their names in an effort to prevent the resurrection of a former ballot line that reportedly created confusion for voters.
The measure is under consideration as Rep. Lee Zeldin, the Republican candidate for the governor endorsed by the state GOP committee, has filed to revive the party as a ballot line this fall.
At issue was the Independence Party, a ballot created by Rochester businessman Thomas Golisano in his bid for governor. The party remained a ballot line voters could register for, and many believed they were registered as "independent" voters. That is, not registered in any political party.
Lawmakers and candidates in both parties have long decried how the Independence Party was able to benefit from the confusion and its enrollment was largely artificial as a result. The ballot line failed to gain automatic eligibility this election cycle after failing to get enough votes on its line under new rules.
“The Independence Party was a sham organization that preyed on New Yorkers’ sense of individualism to inflate its member rolls,” said Sen. James Skoufis, who sponsored the bill with Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz. “Voters who may be disillusioned by our party system have the right to remain unaffiliated and shouldn’t be conned into joining a shadow party. I am grateful to Assemblyman Dinowitz for his commitment to getting this across the finish line and I expect the Governor to sign this important measure.”