Bernie Sanders might not get on the NY ballot

Update 6/23/2015.  This post turned out to be much ado about nothng.  The State Board of Elections ruled that Bernie Sanders’ party status will be no barrier to him appearing on the 2016 Democratic Presidential Election Ballot.

Bernie Sanders might not get on the ballot for the 2016 New York Democratic presidential primary.

berniesocialistThat’s because he’s not a Democrat.   He is a socialist who was elected Senator from Vermont as an independent.

Under New York law, you have to be a member of a political party in order to be a candidate in that party’s primary election, unless the governing committee of that party makes an exception.

The chair of the New York Democratic Party is former Gov. David Paterson and the executive committee chair is Sheila Comar.  The committee headquarters is in mid-town Manhattan, and the committee can be contacted by through its web site.

Sanders has said that he will support the nominee of the Democratic Party.  So unless the New York Democratic Committee opens the state primary, New Yorkers won’t get a chance to vote for him at all—unless he wins the nomination, of course.


It is the Wilson-Pakula Act that reportedly bars people from running in primary campaigns for nominations of parties to which they do not belong.   This law was enacted in 1947 in order to prevent socialists and Communists from running in primaries of the two major parties.

Update 2

There is no political party registration in Vermont, so Sanders could register in that state as a Democrat if he wanted to.  He ran for mayor of Burlington, for the House of Representatives and for the Senate as an independent, not a Democrat, but he voted in Congress with the Democratic caucus to name committee chairs and other business.

Update 6/23/2015

The New York Board of Elections ruled that Bernie Sanders’ party status will not be a barrier to him running in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.  For one thing, voters do not vote directly for presidential candidates.  They vote for delegates to the Electoral College who are pledged to a particular candidate.


Elections Board: Bernie Sanders can appear on primary ballot by Bill Mahoney for Capital New York.  [Added 6/23/2015]

Democrats May Keep Bernie Off New York Primary Ballot by Emma Whitford for The Gothamist.

All We Are Saying Is Give Bernie a Chance by Steve Hayward for Powerline.

Petition: Get Bernie Sanders on Ballot in New York State.

Bernie Sanders’s primary problem by Charles F. Bass for the Washington Post.

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4 Responses to “Bernie Sanders might not get on the NY ballot”

  1. whungerford Says:

    This article may not be correct. NYS election law states:

    § 6–102. Party nominations; electors, presidential
    Party nominations of candidates for the office of elector of
    president and vice president of the United States, one for each
    congressional district and two at large, shall be made by the
    state committee.


    • philebersole Says:

      The 1947 Wilson-Pakula law reportedly bars persons from running in primary elections in New York state for nominations of parties to which they do not belong. The law was enacted for the express purpose of preventing socialists and Communists from winning major-party nominations to office.

      I have added an update giving links to my sources of information. Sorry! I should have included this in the original post.

      Thanks as always for making me clarify and justify what I wrote.

      Liked by 1 person

    • whungerford Says:

      The main point of the article, that a candidate needs the party’s approval, is certainly valid. But I am not sure that the NYS Wilson-Pakula law applies to presidential elections. If it applies at all, it may apply to the electors rather than to candidates.


    • philebersole Says:

      I can’t really believe that the Democratic leadership in New York or any other state would be so obtuse as to keep Sanders off the Presidential primary ballot.

      It would do the Democratic Party in general and the Hillary Clinton campaign in particular more harm than good.

      Still, stranger things have happened.


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