For the first time since 1946, New Yorkers will have just two gubernatorial candidates on their ballots — incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul and Republican challenger Rep. Lee Zeldin.
However, perennial Green Party nominee Howie Hawkins is seeking to meet new ballot access standards by running a written campaign for the state’s highest office. Hawkins argued on Tuesday capital tonight that the new standards for access to the ballot are stricter than those in force in Russia.
Hawkins has been a familiar presence on the New York ballot for more than a decade. Hawkins is making his fourth straight attempt at the governor’s mansion after a 2020 presidential race to the Green Party line. But this 2022 race could be the toughest yet. In the state budget passed in 2020, new petition and vote thresholds were passed that third parties like the Greens and Libertarians legally challenged. The new petition standards require candidates to collect 45,000 signatures, up from 5,000 previously. The new voting threshold requires candidates to secure 2% of the total votes cast or 130,000 votes in an election for gubernatorial or presidential office, whichever is greater, compared to 50,000 in an election for office. of governor.
After gaining ballot access in 2018, the Greens, along with the Independence, Serve America Movement and Libertarian parties, all lost ballot access after failing to secure enough statewide votes in the of the 2020 presidential election. Larry Sharpe, the 2018 Libertarian gubernatorial candidate, is also running a write-in campaign in 2022.
With the tough backdrop, Hawkins is making electoral reform part of his campaign platform. Hawkins is pushing for New York to adopt preferential choice voting in the state. This model allows voters to rank their preferred candidates, with their vote going to one of two final candidates if their ballot has not been exhausted and their first choice has been eliminated. Ranked-choice voting was recently used in the 2021 New York City primaries, when Eric Adams claimed victory in a crowded primary field. Hawkins said preferential choice voting would remove the so-called “spoiler effect.” At the federal level, Hawkins would like to see the Electoral College abolished.
Hawkins is confident there is enough appetite for a progressive gubernatorial candidate, arguing that his party supports “the entire progressive wish list” including New York’s health care law that would implement Medicare for All at the state level.