A coalition of good-government groups on Wednesday released a letter to the campaign finance commission tasked with recommending changes to the state’s election laws, urging the panel to focus on devising a public financing system, and not be “distracted” by issues like overhauling or ending fusion voting.

The letter, released by Citizens Union, the League of Women Voters, the New York Public Interest Research Group and Reinvent Albany, questions the scope of the commission’s authority for completely ending fusion voting, which allows candidates for office run on multiple ballot lines.

“We write to express our growing concern, based on media reports, that the future of ‘fusion’ voting is now an additional goal of the Commission; a goal that we believe is outside the scope of implementing a voluntary system of public financing for elections in New York State,” the groups wrote in the letter.

The law creating the commission, however, appears to be broad in its purview. The measure allows the commission “review and recommend changes to certain aspects of the state election law as detailed herein” including “multiple party candidate nominations and/or designations.”

Fusion voting is potentially key for the future of small parties like the Conservative Party and the Working Families Party.

The good-government organizations say the commission does have a mandate to set parameters for multi-party nominations when it comes to matching funds.

“However, that is the limit of the Commission’s authority and it is not empowered to abolish fusion voting because that change in the election law is not reasonably related to the administration of a public campaign finance system. Furthermore, we strongly agree that debating fusion voting is a serious distraction from the actual work you were entrusted to do.”

Groups Letter to the Commission by Nick Reisman on Scribd