Monday, December 13, 2010

A Divided New York Libertarian Party Fails To Obtain 50,000 Votes

Mark Axinn, NYLP Chair, reported the following on December 13, 2010:

The Board of Elections has certified the total votes cast for Libertarian candidates Warren Redlich and Alden Link at 48,386 -- only 1614 shy of the 50,000 required for ballot status.

Dr. Tom Stevens, Political Director of the Libertarian Party of Queens County, the largest chartered chapter in New York State, provided the following comment:

This is a disappointing but not unexpected result. In a year when the New York Libertarian Party should have finally obtained ballot access, that opportunity was lost through the actions of those who placed their own personal interests above those of the party.

In the pre-NYLP State Convention stage, those pushing for the nomination of Warren Redlich as the LP's gubernatorial candidate denied Kristin Davis and Sam Sloan, two other contenders, from being able to communicate with the 400+ state party members eligible to vote at the State Convention. Without the ability to campaign and to encourage those individuals to attend the State Convention, the nomination was handed to Redlich with only 27 delegates voting for him. Then to make matters worse, the actual vote on the gubernatorial nomination was conducted on the "honor system" and actual evidence of fraud was uncovered. Ms. Davis ended up running for Governor on the Anti-Prohibition Party line obtaining more than 22,000 votes. Sam Sloan chose a legal remedy and started two actions that were ultimately dismissed on technical grounds.

In the post-NYLP State Convention stage, the State Committee of the New York Libertarian Party suspended the memberships of Dr. Tom Stevens and Sam Sloan, the unanimously elected State Representatives for the Queens LP and the Manhattan LP, respectively. These actions alienated the memberships of both chapters, the largest and second largest LP chapters in New York State, causing many of its members to provide lukewarm support for the candidacy of Warren Redlich and for other LP nominated candidates. Two Congressional Candidates and Three New York State Assembly Candidates nominated by the Queens LP and Manhattan LP failed to obtain a sufficient number of petition signatures to qualify for a place on the November ballot.

Another result of this division was coordinated action that took place between Sam Sloan and the Kristin Davis campaign with Roger Stone crediting Mr. Sloan for providing him with the information Mr. Stone ultimately used against Redlich in flyers mailed out by an independent organization dealing with Mr. Redlich's alleged defense of adults having sex with minors. Mr. Redlich's campaign claimed the flyers were defamatory but no lawsuit has yet been instituted by Warren Redlich against those who put out the flyers.

Had the New York Libertarian Party not been divided, I have no doubt this is the year the LP in New York State would have obtained 50,000 votes in the gubernatorial race and ballot access for the next four (4) years.

On November 11, 2010, the Executive Committee of the Libertarian Party of Queens County, the largest LP chapter in New York State, unanimously adopted the following statement regarding why, in its opinion, the NYLP failed to obtain 50,000 votes in this gubernatorial election:

It is the formal opinion of the Libertarian Party of Queens County that one of the main reasons the New York Libertarian Party failed to obtain 50,000 votes in the gubernatorial election in 2010 is because of intentional flaws built into the gubernational nomination process and due to the fact that the party was split after the State Committee took action to suspend the State Party memberships of Dr. Tom Stevens (Queens LP State Representative) and Sam Sloan (Manhattan LP State Representative).

The gubernatorial nomination process was flawed in two ways: first, gubernatorial nomination contenders Sam Sloan and Kristin Davis were denied the opportunity to communicate with the 400+ potential voting delegates to promote their candidacies with them and to encourage them to attend the NYLP State Convention in April, 2010. As a result, Kristin Davis did not attend the NYLP State Convention (eventually running for governor as the candidate of the Anti-Prohibition Party) and Sam Sloan instituted a number of law suits to expose the rigged nomination process. Warren Redlich was handed the gubernatorial nomination with only 27 delegates voting in his favor. In addition, the election process itself was run on the "honor system" where anyone could place one or more votes into a passing hat regardless of whether they were legally entitled to vote. Evidence of actual fraud had been collected by Sam Sloan but his lawsuits were dismissed on technical grounds and the validity of his substantive arguments were never litigated.

Had the process been fair, it is possible Kristin Davis would have been the Libertarian Party's gubernatorial nominee or she might have agreed to run for another statewide position on our slate. In that case, she would not have formed her own pro-libertarian Anti-Prohibition Party and a good portion of the 22,000+ votes she got on the Anti-Prohibition Party might have been cast on the Libertarian Party line giving us the extra 5,000 votes we needed to obtain "minor party" status and permanent ballot access for the next 4 years. In addition, all the negative publicity that resulted from Sam Sloan's lawsuits and from the anti-Redlich flyers and e-mails would not have materialized.

For pointing out flaws in the gubernatorial nomination process and for highlighting the lack of professionalism present in the State Party, the State Party memberships of Dr. Tom Stevens (Queens LP State Representative) and Sam Sloan (Manhattan LP State Representative) were suspended by the State Committee. The Manhattan LP also suspended the membership of Sam Sloan and Dr. Tom Stevens was asked to resign. These unwarranted actions by the State Party and the Manhattan LP resulted in a major split within the party that destroyed the unity that would have been necessary to take maximum advantage of the potential this election held for us to obtain 50,000 votes in the gubernatorial election. This unique potential existed for three reasons: first, the fact that minor party candidates were included in the gubernatorial debate; second, the new ballots made finding the LP candidates easier; and third, since Andrew Cuomo's victory was a lock, there was no 'wasted vote" syndrome that influenced how people voted. Yet, because of the disunity, many people were turned off to the LP, costing the NYLP much bad publicity and certainly the loss of a number of votes.

The Libertarian Party of Queens County believes that once again, the dysfunctional leadership of the State Libertarian Party laid the groundwork for yet another lost opportunity.

The next chance the New York Libertarian Party will have to obtain 50,000 votes and permanent ballot status for four (4) years will be in 2014.

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