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Petitioners Owed Thousands by the Sharpe Campaign

Nina Pineda of WABC’s 7 On Your Side recently writes that Larry Sharpe is under scrutiny for failing to pay tens of thousands owed to petitioners. In her report, Pineda found that Sharpe owes dozens of petitioners approximately one thousand dollars each for their work in collecting signatures to put him on the ballot.

Sharpe is a prominent figure in New York Libertarian politics. He was the chair of the Libertarian Party of New York and their 2018 gubernatorial nominee. Sharpe also sought the Libertarian Party vice-presidential nomination in 2016 and 2020.

Sharpe is again running for governor and has pursued the endorsement of multiple parties alongside the Libertarians. New York is unique in that it accommodates fusion voting and Sharpe sought the Libertarian, Forward, and Unity Party lines. He has successfully earned endorsements by both the Forward and Libertarian Parties.

Larry Sharpe responded to petitioner concerns two weeks earlier in a video on his website. “Things went poorly,” he said, “and now I’ll show you what I’m going to do.”

In the hour-long video, Sharpe explains that his campaign has struggled with volunteers due to several external factors, including the most recent Libertarian National Convention and COVID-19. A trusted vendor chose not to submit “thousands of signatures” compromising the campaign and creating a challenge to Sharpe’s place on the ballot.

“It is time, it is money, [and] it is energy [that] I’m spending back in court to make sure that we are on the ballot,” he said. Sharpe also laments that a big donor delayed putting money into the campaign and that the LNC failed to provide him with the sum of $30,000 initially promised.

Sharpe explains that he chose to pay petitioners through the campaign after prior arrangements between them and the initial vendor fell through. “The money wasn’t coming from the campaign,” he said. “The campaign has no agreement with any petitioners. They were working on behalf of a vendor”. Sharpe still accepts responsibility for approving the vendor.

“Could I have simply said ‘look, that’s the vendor’, changed vendors, moved away, and let them fight?” Sharpe said. “I could have done that, and maybe legally I should have, but I couldn’t, so I had the campaign step in.”

Sharpe says on his website that “as of June 23, 2022 we expect to have paid out about 25% of the requested funds. We expect to pay out about another 25% by the first week of July, and we’re doing our best to do so in the fairest way possible.” The Sharpe campaign did not respond to requests from Independent Political Report for comment about how many petitioners have been paid to date.

About Post Author

Jordan Willow Evans

Jordan is the managing editor for Independent Political Report. She has appeared on ABC News, NBC Boston, Sky News, BNT 1, and numerous local outlets. She is a proponent of civic inclusion and awareness and was featured in Represent: The Woman’s Guide to Running for Office and Changing the World and the Worcester Historical Museum exhibit PRETTY POWERFUL: 100 Years of Voting & Style.

9 Comments

  1. MG MG July 7, 2022

    Thanks, Andy. Helpful analysis.

    Mr. Sharpe must have ben doing something right to get all this agita.

  2. Andy Andy July 1, 2022

    Did this mystery vendor Larry says screwed the campaign take a deposit in advance from the campaign? Why has Larry not sued the vendor? Who is this person?

  3. Andy Andy July 1, 2022

    I don’t think that it was a matter of anyone on the LNC thinking that it was not worth it for Larry Sharpe to run for Governor of New York, I think it was more of an issue of the LNC not having enough money available to ensure that Larry Sharpe’s ballot access drive would be successful.

  4. Andy Andy July 1, 2022

    I would be curious to find out what the validity rate is on the petition signatures that they collected. My guess is that it is not that good. This is not to say that every petition circulator who worked on this did a poor job, but given that they were hiring random people off of Craigslist, I’d be willing to bet that a lot of these people did do a poor job, and Larry has acknowledged that there were a few petition circulators who engaged in fraud and/or who were scammers. This is what happens when you hire non-libertarian mercenaries.

  5. Andy Andy July 1, 2022

    He can’t blame all of this on the Libertarian National Committee, because the Libertarian National Committee had only said that they were going to give him $30,000, and $30,000 is NOT a lot of money for a petition drive of this size and with this short of a time from for signature collection. $30,000 is a drop in a bucket.

    I suppose that you could blame the Libertarian National Committee for being in poor shape, and for not giving him a much larger amount of money, and for not being involved with planning and executing this petition drive, but they never promised him this.

    He said that they delayed sending him money. OK, that’s a bummer, but my response to this is that his petition drive had bigger problems than this. This drive needed a LOT more money than than for what Larry’s campaign thought they could do it. They thought that they could do this for $200,000. I said from the beginning that this would likely cost a LOT more than that to successfully pull off.

  6. Andy Andy July 1, 2022

    Why would a vendor not turn in signatures which had been collected?

    1) Because they were owed money, and maybe they were not confident about getting paid.

    2) Maybe somebody paid them off to not turn in the signatures (I don’t think that an actual libertarian would do this, but a lot of non-libertarian mercenaries would do this).

    3) Incompetence.

    4) Some kind of disaster happened.

  7. Andy Andy July 1, 2022

    I am a few minutes into the video, and I already feel the need to comment.

    1) The new requirement in New York for unrecognized minor party and independent candidates for statewide offices is 45,000 signatures in 42 days. This is an extremely difficult requirement. Larry said that he had thought that his campaign had over 50,000 signatures. 50,000 and something raw signatures is NOT likely to be enough to survive a validity check. Maybe it would be if all 50,000 and something were collected by sending people door-to-door to people’s homes with walk lists of registered voters, but this is NOT what they were doing. Going door-to-door with walk lists of registered voters is generally a slower method of collecting signatures, and it is generally not worthwhile on week days until 4 PM-9 PM. New York is a challenge state, which means that the election officials do not check the validity of the petition signatures unless somebody challenges them, but you need to be prepared to survive a challenge by turning in more than enough VALID petition signatures. Petition signatures can be disqualified for a variety of reasons. Part of a campaign team’s job is to make sure that there are enough petition signatures which are in compliance with the election laws to obtain ballot access. Statistically speaking, he was going to have to turn in MORE THAN 50,000 and something to obtain 45,000 valid petition signatures. It turns out that his campaign did NOT even turn in 45,000 raw signatures, so after he got challenged he was automatically denied ballot access.

    2) Larry acts like he was surprised that he got challenged. Why would this be surprising? I PREDICTED that he would get challenged BEFORE his petition drive started (and I was NOT there, by the way). Why? Because petition challenges have become more common in recent years, and because it should have been blatantly obvious that the ruling establishment in New York did not want him, or any other minor party or independent candidates on the ballot. The last time Larry Sharpe was on the ballot, although his vote total was disappointing to some, he did get recognized party status for the LP of NY for the first time in its history. Once a party obtains party status in NY, they do still have to gather petition signatures to place candidates on a primary ballot, but doing this for their presidential candidate is optional, as in a state committee for a recognized party in New York can place presidential candidates on the NY ballot without them having to gather petition signatures. The vote test for a candidate for Governor of NY to obtain recognized party status has been increased in New York, but if Larry Sharpe had qualified for the ballot, there is still a chance he could have gotten it, and this would mean that the LP of NY would not have to petition to place the LP’s presidential ticket on the ballot for 2024. The ruling establishment in New York clearly did NOT want this to happen. The only way Sharpe could have possibly avoided being challenged is by turning in a lot of signatures over the required amount, and HAVING a high validity rate on those signatures, but even if he had done that, he still likely would have been challenged, but if he had come in with a lot of extra signatures and had a high validity rate he would have won the challenge quickly. It sounds pretty naive of him to me to think that he would not get challenged if he came in with 50,000 and something signatures. I think they were going to challenge him no matter what, and his campaign needed to be prepared to win a challenge. I know that this is difficult under the new law in New York, but this is what needed to be done.

  8. Andy Andy June 30, 2022

    I have heard that petition circulators are owed thousands of dollars for the Sharpe petition in New York. They need to get these people paid ASAP.

  9. Joe Wendt Joe Wendt June 30, 2022

    I’m not surprised he’s having trouble

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