According to the New York State Board of Elections, if Robert F. Kennedy Jr. hits the 2% or 130,000 voter threshold in this year's presidential race, "We the People" would be a new, official political party in the state with ballot access for two years.

But there are still plenty of hurdles to overcome before that happens, thanks in part to an election law change that went into effect before the 2020 race.

Prior to the 2020 election cycle, political parties in New York state would automatically gain a ballot line for the next four years if their candidates received at least 50,000 votes during a gubernatorial election.

However, four years ago, New York Public Interest Research Group Executive Director Blair Horner says the state changed the threshold.

Now in order to be recognized, a party's candidate must collect at least 2% of the total votes cast for governor, or 130,000 votes — whichever is higher — and the same for presidential elections.  

"You have this sort of new sort of system in place which makes it harder to maintain that line and to get on the line, and that's why there's really only four official parties in New York state when there used to be a lot more," said Horner.

Following 2020, the minor party pool in New York dropped from six to two, with parties like Libertarian, Green and Independence failing to meet the threshold.

State Conservative Chair Jerry Kassar says his party has easily cleared the goal but still prefers the old system.

"We believe in ballot access so we would have been just as happy if all these parties remained on the ballot and you had the lower number," said Kassar.

The Conservative and Working Families parties are bolstered by what's known as fusion voting, which allows multiple parties to endorse the same candidate and aggregate the total votes.

In 2020, Conservatives endorsed Donald Trump who got roughly 298,000 votes on their line.

"If anything, we think he's stronger this year,” said Kassar. “We anticipate 300,000 votes or better so we're not concerned about ballot access."

For now, there will be one minor party candidate on the ballot, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., whose campaign successfully collected enough petitions under an invented We the People line.

The state Board of Elections is reviewing multiple objections to those petitions, though, before issuing a final determination.

Kassar believes Kennedy will hold his line and potentially give Trump a chance in a traditionally Democratic state.

"In New York state, I feel very certain that his heavy emphasis on environmental type issues is going to siphon votes away from the Democratic Party,” said Kassar.

Horner says safe red and blue states are traditionally fertile ground for third party candidates. However, with the RFK Jr. factor, that may not be as much the case in New York this year.

Voters do still have the option of writing in the national Green or Libertarian party candidates, for instance.