Last week, I wrote a post titled, Hillary Clinton Will Win New York, Because New York is Running a Banana Republic Primary. Here’s an excerpt:
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ll know that New Yorkers go to the primary voting booths on April 19th. Unfortunately, only a small sliver of the population will actually be able to vote. First, it’s a closed primary, so you have to be registered as a member of one of the two corrupt political parties in order to participate. As the Guardian recently reported, 27% of New York state’s active voters were not registered in either party as of April 2016, meaning these people will have no say in the primary. Even worse, what about all those residents who aren’t active voters, but would very likely vote in this particular election given the increased turnout seen in other states? They’re iced out as well.
New York has one of the most archaic primaries in the nation. Not only is it one of only 11 states with closed primaries, but if you are a registered voter who wanted to change your party affiliation in order to vote in next week’s primary, you would’ve had to do it by last October. In contrast, if you weren’t yet a registered voter you had until March 25th to register under one of the two parties in order to vote in the primary. So if you live in New York and haven’t registered by now, you can’t vote.
Well the big day is finally here, and as expected, the primary is already riddled with problems.
First, as reported by the New York Daily News in the article, New York City Primary Voters Outraged by Broken Machines, Closed Polling Places:
New York primary voting at some Brooklyn and Queens polling places was a disaster Tuesday morning — with early morning voters arriving to broken machines and belated polling.
Queens resident George Mack said he came to P.S. 52 in Springfield Gardens to vote right at 6 a.m. He, and about 50 other early voters, learned all three machines on site were broken. Volunteers at the school told voters to place their ballots in a slot, and they would all get processed later.
Meanwhile, voters at the Cooper Park Houses in Greenpoint, Brooklyn couldn’t even get close to a machine. More than two hours after polls were supposed to open at 6 a.m., that site was still closed.
A similar snafu happened at the Atlantic Terminal site in Brooklyn, which didn’t open until after 7:30.
“They told me the key to the building had not arrived yet,” voter Tara McCauley told the News.
A Board of Elections representative arrived around 8, she said, and told voters he had been busy tending to problems at other polls. Voting finally started at Atlantic Terminal around 8:30.
“I am sure there are many people who tried to vote and had to leave who will not be able to come back,” she said.
Reps at the New York State Board of Elections could not immediately be reached for comment, and the press office’s voicemail was full Tuesday morning.
But that’s not all. We learn the following from USUncut:
New York’s Democratic primary is starting to look an awful lot like the Arizona primary.
Hundreds of voters, most of them registered with the Democratic Party, are filing a class-action lawsuit against the New York State Board of Elections on Monday morning, claiming their voter registration was changed to “independent” or “no affiliation” without their consent.
For more on what transpired in Arizona, see: American Democracy – Allegations of Voter Suppression Emerge from the Arizona Primary
In closed primary states like New York, voters who are not registered as Democrats or Republicans can’t vote in those primaries. Voters identifying as independents wishing to vote in the Democratic primary had to change their registration to Democrat by October of 2015 — the earliest registration deadline in the country.
I didn’t call it a Banana Republic primary for nothing.
New York voters angry about the mysterious change in their party affiliation have taken to a Facebook group titled “Voters whose registration was changed without their knowledge in NY” to share their horror stories. Shelly Berry discovered that someone had changed her voter registration in 2012, even forging her signature on the document.
The party affiliation barrier these voters are struggling with will undoubtedly play a role in the New York primary on Tuesday. Some advocates are calling for New York to open its primary to independent voters to avoid disenfranchising thousands of voters.