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George Clarke

Attempt to Bar Minority
Parties from N.Y. Ballot

(28 September 1946)

From The Militant, Vol. 10 No. 39, 28 September 1946, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

NEW YORK, Sept. 21 – The most threatening attack against democratic rights in this state came yesterday when Wall Street’s Democratic Party instituted court proceedings to bar the Socialist Workers Party, the Communist Party, the Socialist Labor Party and the Socialist Party from the ballot in the November 5 elections. If this action is successful, it will set a precedent for eliminating all competition to the Democratic and Republican Parties in New York State.

The court action was the final step in a conspiracy begun 10 days ago by the Tammany Hall-Flynn gang. At that time Louis Cohen, Executive Secretary to Mayor O’Dwyer, announced that he would attempt to throw the minority parties off the ballot. Since then he and his staff have been going through thousands of independent petitions to find legal pretext.

Meanwhile the agents of Tammany Hall have unleashed a campaign of intimidation designed to frighten up-state residents into repudiating their signatures. The Binghamton Sun has published a full list of the Broome County signatories of the CP petitions. It also falsely alleged that signatures on SWP petitions were invalid. Undoubtedly similar intimidation has been at work in other counties.

All four of the minority parties complied With the most rigorous requirements of the state election law to the satisfaction of the Secretary of State, who certified them on Sept. 17 to appear on the ballot. The SWP obtained almost 24,000 signatures and approximately 100 in each of the state’s 62 counties.

The election law requires a minimum of 12,000 signatures and 50 in each county.

The Tammany gang deliberately sidestepped the regular provisions of the election law and made no challenges during the period assigned by the statutes. Challenges that were made during this period were overruled by the Secretary of State.

Through Spencer C. Young, Democratic candidate for State Comptroller, they picked on one of the numerous loopholes in the election law. Under this law an “aggrieved candidate” may secure a restraining order from a Supreme Court Justice to prevent the Secretary of State from certifying minority parties. It is interesting to note that Spencer Young has received endorsement from both the Liberal and American Labor Parties.

The full nature of the plot is revealed in the choice of the Supreme Court Justice who will hear the case. He is William H. Murray of Troy, who issued the writ ruling the CP off the ballot in 1940. At that time a similar campaign of intimidation was set on foot against signers of independent petitions.

The Socialist Workers Party plans to fight this vicious conspiracy in and out of the courts. The SWP will utilize the election campaign to arouse the workers to a fight against the undemocratic, discriminatory election laws of this state.

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