Gov. Cuomo speaks in Melville on Oct. 22, 2013.

Gov. Cuomo speaks in Melville on Oct. 22, 2013. Credit: Ed Betz

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo won the nomination of the state Democratic Party to run for re-election Thursday in Melville. Now he will have to decide what to do about nominations from other parties, as will his main opponent, Republican pick and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

Both should turn down offers of any other ballot lines.

Placing the name of a single candidate on more than one ballot line often serves the needs of politicians, but it never serves the voters. And it breeds a culture of patronage, cronyism and backroom deals that does as much as anything to corrupt the political process in New York.

The Independence Party is the starkest example, a political brand with no known ethos. It empowers its leaders by fooling voters into believing enrolling in or voting for the party is the same as being an "independent" voter, aligned with no party.

Astorino has said he won't accept the Independence line, but to be fair, party leaders never planned to offer it to him. Cuomo, who has railed against the ethical morass of our politics, has an opportunity to do something about it by refusing the Independence line and making it far harder for the party to garner the 50,000 votes it needs to automatically remain on the ballot for state races.

But Cuomo should also refuse the line of the Working Families Party, which does have an actual political agenda, and Astorino should do the same with the Conservative line. If the minor parties have principles to espouse, they should do so by having their own candidates who try to openly convince the public, rather than using lines to sway the agenda of other parties' candidates.

Cuomo says cleaning up politics is a priority. So does Astorino. Now is the time for both men to stop talking about it and do it.