Do not vote for Julie Gansle, a candidate for town clerk, on anything other than the Republican line in November.
We’re not saying “don’t vote for Gansle.” She would make a fine town clerk in the tradition of Elizabeth DelTorto, who is stepping down after 20 years. But, if you want to vote for Gansle, an enrolled Republican, do so on the Republican line.
Her opponent, Alison McLean Lane, is a Democrat. She is also qualified to run the clerk’s office. But, stay away from the Working Families Party line should you support her.
This is not an endorsement of either candidate.
It is, though, a condemnation of a provision in state Election Law that allows candidates to run on more than one party line. It’s also a condemnation of the Republicans in Colonie for exploiting that, and the absentee ballot process, too.
There is a reason most states have banned the practice of allowing major party candidates to also run on minor party lines – it leads to nothing but corruption and intentionally confuses voters. Probably the same reasons New York still allows it.
The minor parties don’t stand for anything. If they did, they would run their own candidates. Instead, they are run by a few parasitic power brokers expecting something in return for the use of their catchy names. How many people see “Independence Party” and say “I’m independent” before casting a ballot on Election Day. Or see “Working Families Party” and say “my family works.”
Gansle will be on the Republican, Independence, Conservative, Green and Reform party lines. The rest of the Republican slate is too. How any candidates, in good conscious, can appear on the traditionally polar opposite Conservative and Green parties only has one thought in mind – to win the election.
The minor parties, with their catchy names, do in fact add up to thousands of votes on Election Day and can account for a margin of victory or defeat.
The thing is, there are so few actually enrolled in a minor party that they are easily manipulated during primaries by things like absentee ballots. It takes some leg work, but it really isn’t that difficult to enroll voters in the minor parties and then use absentee ballots to win primaries.
Just look at this year’s Independence Party primary in the Colonie clerk’s race. In 2012 there were 22 absentee ballots in Colonie Independence Party primaries. In 2015 there were 51. This year there were 170.
McLean Lane was ahead 146 to 94 on Primary Day.
All but four absentees went to Gansle and McLean Lane lost 260-150.
Either someone was playing games, or there was a convention somewhere outside of Albany County exclusively for Independence Party members supporting Gansle.
McLean Lane did file a lawsuit, but it was dismissed on a technicality. The paperwork wasn’t filed on time. She can formally complain to the District Attorney and/or the state Board of Elections, but absent any new information will be hard pressed to get an indictment or even see an investigation.
There are no allegations of outright fraud. There are some questions about that many voters suddenly qualifying for an absentee – a right afforded to the sick or those out of the county – but does that cross the line into illegality? Or just bend it a bit?
As far as anyone knows, the voters did sign their names to the documents, which is all they really have to do. Anyone can fill out the rest of the information on the absentee application and the ballot. If the voters bought into a sales pitch by Republicans who is at fault?
We understand the frustration many feel with a two party system, but voting on a minor party line doesn’t fix that system – it perpetuates it.