The problem was only six states in addition to New York permitted fusion voting, so Cantor and Rogers urged their fellow progressives to expand the number of states where it was legal.
The party's success hinged on challenging the constitutionality of the state laws banning fusion voting. For the next seven years, the New Party ran hundreds of left-leaning candidates for nonpartisan municipal offices, while laying the groundwork for the court challenge.
Fusion voting allowed parties to cross endorse and voters to cast a ballot for a major party candidate on a Populist ballot, or vice versa.
Fusion voting revived the fortunes of the Democratic Party in unionist states, such as Colorado and Nebraska--parts of the country where its share of the popular vote after the Civil War had dwindled to about one-tenth of the electorate.
The proposal comes from county clerks, who say that the Legislature's previous adoption of a "fusion voting" system sometimes makes election ballots longer, thereby imposing on counties the expense of printing additional pages.
Fusion voting allows candidates for public office to accept the nominations of up to three political parties.
If more states allow fusion voting
, then New Party affiliates could use their ballot lines to run their own candidates and to endorse progressive Democrats--thus avoiding the "spoiler" image that haunts third parties.
The 2009 Legislature passed a "fusion voting" law that confers new significance of that 2.6 percent.
Fusion voting will make this year's nominations more visible.
The party wants a new initiative on the ballot in Massachusetts for 2006 that would legalize fusion voting
in that state.
The Working Families Party, with 1,849 members, has its roots in the union movement and advocates "fusion voting
" - a system that allows candidates to run under the label of more than one party.
With fusion voting
, two or more parties could nominate the same candidates.