No one knows yet if Gary Johnson received as many as 50,000 votes for President this month in New York state. The preliminary total for Johnson, gathered by the news media, is 42,452. However, the total on election night in New York state, as in most states, is far below what the final total will be. In 2010, New York city finished its official canvass on December 2, 2010, and the final results were 17% higher than the election night total.
The New York State Board of Elections did not release 2010 election returns until December 13, 2010, and chances are the 2012 results will not be known until mid-December 2012.
New York state defines “party” to be a group that polled 50,000 votes for Governor. When this definition was written, New York state elected its governor every two years. There is a plausible argument to be made that it is unconstitutional for a state to make it literally impossible for a group to become a “political party” at any point during a presidential election year. New York and Indiana are the only states in which a group cannot qualify as a “political party”, except on election day in mid-term years.
In 1980, the Libertarian Party polled 52,648 votes for President, and after the election was over, filed a lawsuit, alleging that it had shown enough voter support to qualify as a political party. However, the attorney who filed the lawsuit erroneously sued the New York Secretary of State, instead of the State Board of Elections, which was a fatal procedural flaw.