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.
Fusion voting allows candidates for public office to accept the nominations of up to three political parties.
Fusion voting, by allowing candidates to list themselves as nominees of the Independent Party as well as their own, could offer a powerful but potentially misleading means of reaching out to independent-minded voters who are members of no party.
The party wants a new initiative on the ballot in Massachusetts for 2006 that would legalize fusion voting in that state.
The WFP also plans to try to legalize fusion voting elsewhere--it's legal in South Carolina, South Dakota, Connecticut, Mississippi, and Delaware, in addition to New York.
To puncture suspicions, Cantor--a slim, energetic 50-year-old with a salt-and-pepper beard--rattles off a long speech about the history of fusion voting in America.
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.
will make this year's nominations more visible.
With fusion voting, two or more parties could nominate the same candidates.
The Working Families Party cites an example on its Web site from a New York county's legislative race to illustrate how fusion voting works.
Barbara Dudley, a Portland State University professor and a co-chairman of the emerging party, said the combination of a Working Families Party with fusion voting would give voters a way to refocus candidates' attention.