Plan calls for a simpler petitioning process for candidates who are not party members to gain ballot access to another party’s line — Opposition is expected from Working Families, Conservatives and Other "Third Parties"
Governor Cuomo released legislative language containing a provision that would repeal the Wilson-Pakula Law of 1947, provide a new oversight counsel at the Board of Elections and institute an expedited process for registering in a political party ( See “Cuomo Unveils Wilson-Pakula Repeal, Electoral Reform” by Nick Reisman, 4/30/13, YNN Capital Tonight [http://capitaltonightny.ynn.com/2013/04/cuomo-unveils-wilson-pakula-repeal-electoral-reform/]).
The Governor’s proposed legislation calls for the repeal of the state’s Wilson Pakula law, which requires approval from certain political leader(s) of a permanently organized party in order for a candidate not enrolled in that party to run on that party's line on the ballot.
In what is part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s response to the latest corruption scandals to rock New York State, the Governor’s proposed Wilson-Pakula repeal comes in the aftermath of the arrest of Democratic State Senator Malcolm Smith and others on charges that Smith sought to bribe his way onto the Republican line of New York City's mayoral ballot by coaxing Republican leaders to utilize the current Wilson-Pakula authorization process to put him on their party's line.
However, Cuomo’s plan would not abolish fusion voting – allowing a candidate to run on more than one party line and counting as the total vote for the candidate the combined results from all the lines. The Governor’s plan would replace the Wilson-Pakula waiver process with a direct petitioning process for non-party members to gain ballot access on multiple party lines.
Such a move is seen as a major blow to the power of the leaders of smaller, but still very influential third parties such as the Working Families and Conservative Parties. Each of those parties hold significant sway over the major parties in New York State. At this stage, ending Wilson-Pakula is generally opposed by the leaders of those and other third party organizations.
According to the report of Nick Reisman, Cuomo’s proposed bill has the support of the State Senate’s IDC Chairman Jeff Klein.