//Democrats May Keep Bernie Sanders Off New York Primary Ballot

Democrats May Keep Bernie Sanders Off New York Primary Ballot

by Emma Whitford

6-18-2015

Vermont Senator/Indie Rocker Bernie Sanders is an Independent on paper, which means that he’s going to have a hard time getting his name on the Democratic presidential primary ballot in New York to compete with Taylor Swift fan Hillary Clinton next year.
Why? Meet Wilson-Pakula, a very obscure state law. The Wilson-Pakula act, which passed in New York State back in 1947, bars any candidate from running for the nomination of a political party that he or she is not officially affiliated with. Unless, that is, he or she manages to get permission from that party’s committee leaders.
Sadly, and a bit ironically, Wilson-Pakula helped marginalize some of the political movements that Bernie supports. According to the Washington Post, pre-1947, “communist and socialist candidates had been able to become candidates… after winning support from voters.” In other words, back then, average New Yorkers got to make candidacy appointments.
Under current law, permission to cross party lines is, apparently, very rarely granted. It doesn’t help that the relevant committee in New York State has a lot of Hillary supporters: From Assembly Chair David Paterson, to Governor Cuomo himself who, as Capital put it, “controls most of the party apparatus.”
Undeterred, as of this writing, 4,269 people have signed an online petition to “GET BERNIE SANDERS ON BALLOT IN NEW YORK.” From the letter, addressed to Governor Cuomo and David Paterson:

We believe that selecting candidates to represent us is one of the core functions of the people. Thus, we stand in solidarity with Governor Cuomo’s call to repeal the Wilson Pakula law. The Wilson Pakula law, which requires a candidate from one party obtain permission from party bosses to run as a candidate from another party, is antiquated and not Democratic.

Indeed, as recently as the spring of 2013, Cuomo proposed an end to Wilson-Pakula, following the arrest of then-Senate majority leader Malcolm Smith, a Democrat, after he tried to bribe Republican leaders to grant him permission to run for mayor on their ticket.
Another wrinkle for all of the New York Sanders groupies out there: While there are no party affiliation requirements in presidential elections, primaries in several states, New York included, require voting along party lines. As one Redditer put it yesterday, “I wonder if all the Bernie fans realize they have to register as democrats to vote for him?”
Source: Gothamist
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