Weeks have passed since I voted in the November election, and I'm still ticked off. You would be too if it happened to you.

Once upon a time — that is, before 2022 — New York was one of the friendlier states toward third parties. Whether Green, Constitution, Socialist Workers, Libertarian or Communist, all were welcome on the ballot so long as they passed an easily surmountable petition threshold.

This pro-participation access was called “democracy.” Alas, before his long-overdue ejection from Albany, the disgraceful former governor Handsy Andy Cuomo rammed through a series of election-law changes that...

Weeks have passed since I voted in the November election, and I’m still ticked off. You would be too if it happened to you.

Once upon a time — that is, before 2022 — New York was one of the friendlier states toward third parties. Whether Green, Constitution, Socialist Workers, Libertarian or Communist, all were welcome on the ballot so long as they passed an easily surmountable petition threshold.

This pro-participation access was called “democracy.” Alas, before his long-overdue ejection from Albany, the disgraceful former governor Handsy Andy Cuomo rammed through a series of election-law changes that now make it virtually impossible for dissident parties and citizens to partake in the precious democracy that unctuous establishment mouthpieces are always telling us is under threat. (Those flacks and hacks were silent as Cuomo molested democracy in New York.)

Voting, an act that I have perversely enjoyed for most of my life, lost much of its luster a score of years ago, when during his disastrous presidency George W. Bush signed into law the Help America Vote Act of 2002. This effectively banned those dreadnought-heavy mechanical voting machines whose levers were fun to click and whose primitive technology guarded against large-scale fraud. (The trusty but now forbidden machines were first used in 1892 in nearby Lockport, New York, hometown of logorrheic novelist Joyce Carol Oates and supermodel-turned-hemorrhoid-cream spokeswoman Kim Alexis.)

In the years since HAVA, we have voted by filling in circles with a black marker, as if we’re surly schoolchildren taking some stupid standardized test. But these voting sheets, reminiscent of the Scantron sheets familiar to schoolkids, do offer one advantage: they make it much easier to cast write-in votes.

Which I do now, with a vengeance. Governor this year was easy: incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul is a nice lady with whom we have enjoyed baseball games in the past, but since her elevation (and consequent moral demotion) to chief executive she has jammed the shiv into the backs of her erstwhile Western New York constituency and governed as an imaginationless New York City progressive. So for governor I Sharpied in Larry Sharpe, the black ex-Marine Libertarian whose 42,200 submitted signatures were insufficient to “earn” a place on the ballot.

For Senate I cheerfully skipped over Wall Street errand boy Chuck Schumer and wrote in my old boss Pat Moynihan, the last New York senator to give a damn about Upstate. (No one said a write-in candidate has to be alive.) Our elongated House district will be represented in the new Congress by the carpetbagging cipher Claudia Tenney, whose next thoughtful remark will be her first, but I wrote in a Republican of infinitely greater quality, my old congressman and friend, the late Barber Conable.

New York State’s attorney general, the showboating mediocrity Letitia James, won easily, no thanks to me. I jotted down the name of the late Nat Hentoff, principled civil libertarian and jazz writer, a throwback to the days when the American Civil Liberties Union actually defended the Bill of Rights — most of it, anyway. How Lady Liberty misses those principled Jewish liberals who gave the ACLU its soul in the latter half of the twentieth century! And how those old-school liberals would despise the direct-mail-fattened woke zombie the organization has become.

For New York state comptroller I wanted a zealous guardian of the public purse. The beau idéal is Iowa congressman H.R. Gross, the biggest skinflint ever to sit in the House of Representatives, a man who had the exquisitely bad taste to ask, just ten days after the assassination of President Kennedy, if the American taxpayers were expected to shell out for JFK’s eternal flame at Arlington National Cemetery.

But Gross, bless his penny-pinching heart, was not a New Yorker, so I wrote in my friend Jim, the cheapest man in our town. Jim is in stage four of esophageal cancer, but even in his current distress he’s still a vocal critic of any expenditure of money, anytime, anywhere, and for any reason.

I did vote for one winner: Steve Hawley, our state assemblyman, who carries the legislative flag for the devoutly-to-be-wished fissioning of New York into two states. Encouraging self-government and the devolution of political power would foster democracy, which is why the bleaters forever warning about our imperiled democracy shun it like a leprous deplorable.

This article was originally published in The Spectator’s January 2023 World edition.