On August 12, 2010, Sam Sloan, who has two cases pending in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, contesting the gubernatorial nomination of Free Libertarian Party, Inc., became the first candidate to file an Independent Nominating Petition for Governor of New York State seeking to run under the "Libertarian Party" name. Sam Sloan's petitions list his name as the gubernatorial nominee instead of Warren Redlich but then lists the other statewide candidates that also appear on the Independent Nominating Petition that Warren Redlich has been circulating. When Warren Redlich's team files his petitions, the policy and procedure of the New York State Board of Elections will require them to call Redlich and ask him to select a different party name to run under.
Dr. Tom Stevens, Political Director of the Libertarian Party of Queens County, explained the possible scenarios that can take place as follows:
It is my legal opinion that the "Libertarian Party" has not obtained "political party" status in the State of New York and is not subject to the provisions of the New York State Election Law because it has never obtained 50,000 votes in a gubernatorial election. As a result of this fact, the corporation known as Free Libertarian Party, Inc., the New York State chartered affiliate of the national Libertarian Party is more in the nature of a private club. It may hold a "convention" to decide who will run but those candidates still need to run for office as "independents" circulating Independent Nominating Petitions, not as the official nominees of a political party recognized under the Election Law. The first to file, in this case Sam Sloan, gets to select his choice of party name and he selected "Libertarian Party". Candidates filing Independent Nominating Petitions for the same office after that first filing, will be asked to select other party names.
It is highly unlikely the New York State Board of Elections will reject the Sloan petition as being inadequate on its face before the deadline for submitting Independent Nominating Petitions has passed since any petition signatures submitted for the other five statewide candidates on the Sloan petition will be added to the signatures submitted for those candidates on the Redlich petition. Even if the New York State Board of Elections ultimately determines after General and Specific Objections that the number of petition signatures submitted on behalf of Sam Sloan as the gubernatorial candidate of the Libertarian Party are insufficient, that does not resolve the issue that Warren Redlich will probably have already been asked to select a different party name. To address this issue, the Redlich team will need to file a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of the State of New York seeking an injunction against Sam Sloan forbidding him to use the "Libertarian Party" name on the grounds he was not nominated at the "convention" held by Free Libertarian Party, Inc. but that issue is already the subject of two Appellate Division cases currently pending. That lawsuit will also need to name the New York State Board of Elections as a defendant in order to compel them to allow Warren Redlich to run as the Libertarian Party candidate for Governor.
These possible scenarios may or may not happen. They have been constructed based on my legal knowledge and political expertise. How the situation actually pans out may be completely different than we can anticipate or predict. While the number of petition signatures submitted on behalf of Sam Sloan as the Libertarian Party candidate for Governor of the State of New York appear from reports I have received to be short of the number of valid petition signatures necessary to qualify for placement on the ballot, Mr. Sloan's mere filing of a petition has created real legal issues that will need to be resolved.
Dr. Tom Stevens is the Political Director of the Libertarian Party of Queens County and the Founder of Empire State Libertarians.