ALBANY — The Working Families Party is mounting a full court press to remain relevant in New York.
With just weeks left before the Nov. 3 election, the progressive third party is encouraging Democrats to vote for presidential nominee Joe Biden on their line as they seek enough support to stay on the ballot in future contests.
“New Yorkers need to vote out Trump, and we also need much more than that — we need to build a New York that works for working families,” said New York Working Families Party state director Sochie Nnaemeka. “That’s why we’re asking New Yorkers to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on the Working Families Party line.”
New York allows so-called fusion voting, which allows smaller parties to endorse and run a mainline candidate under their name.
But the Empire State enacted a new law this year requiring political parties receive at least 130,000 votes or 2% of all votes cast, whichever is higher, every two years to maintain a ballot line.
The previous threshold was just 50,000 every four years.
In addition to a social media push, the party is sending out a new mailer this week featuring Public Advocate Jumaane Williams calling on voters to support the party.
“I would not be Public Advocate today if it weren’t for the Working Families Party," Williams said. "They believed in and supported me when so many others would not. If progressive leadership matters to you, vote on the Working Families Party ballot line.”
The party, formed in 1998, has been a major political force in Albany and the City in recent years as a host of WFP-backed candidates have unseated long-serving incumbents and mainline Dems have embraced the progressive spirit of the minor party.
But the party’s future is in jeopardy if turnout from past elections is any indication. The WFP would have failed to meet the new criteria in both the last presidential and gubernatorial contests in 2016 and 2018.
Since 2006, the WFP has only achieved more than 2% of the total vote in 4 out of 11 general elections for president or governor.
The new thresholds came in April when lawmakers voted to include a controversial public financing system for elections and other reforms in the state budget. The plan was initially created by an independent commission last year before being struck down in court for not going through the proper legislative channels.
In the past, the WFP has openly accused Gov. Cuomo of orchestrating the move as retribution against the progressive party for endorsing Cynthia Nixon, his primary challenger in 2018.
Dozens of Democratic lawmakers backed by the WFP have used social media in recent weeks to push New Yorkers to vote along the party’s line in next month’s election.
“Vote on the @WorkingFamilies Party line,” Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan) tweeted Sunday as she encouraged people to pledge their support for the party. “@NYWFP is fighting for our lives. We need everyone to vote this November on the WFP line to make sure we can keep the line.”
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