New York Primary 2016: You May Not Be Able to Vote Due to the State's Closed-Primary Rules


Donald Trump's kids might not be the only people shut out of New York's primary elections for presidential nominees on April 19. Despite being one of the bluest states in the United States, New York has some of the most restrictive and conservative voting laws in the country. New Yorkers across the political spectrum are equally affected by the state's voting laws, but young Bernie Sanders supporters in particular will feel the "burn" should they show up to their polling site only to realize they are not able to participate.

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Speaking to the Atlantic, president of Jackie Salit said, "37% of voters under the age of 30 — [Sander's] core group of supporters — aren't registered to a political party in New York City," and therefore won't won't be able to vote in the primaries. 

Regardless of political party, more than 3 million registered voters in New York won't be able to participate in the primaries because they are not registered as a Democrat or Republican. Voters registered as independent or unaffiliated had to designate their affiliation with one of the two parties by Oct. 9, 2015 — that is, 193 days before the the primary election. If you missed the deadline, you won't be able to vote in the New York primary.

Additionally, New York does not have early voting, despite it being allowed in 37 other states, and absentee ballots are allowed only if the voter is able to prove they won't be in town and/or have a disability preventing them from making it to the poll site. Finally, New York doesn't have same-day registration and requires first time registrants to register 25 days before the primary election, and before any candidate had even started campaigning in the state.

Ultimately, all of this results in voter suppression; in 2015, the Center for American Progress Action gave New York a grade of D- for ballot accessibility. With all that said, New York doesn't have egregious voter ID laws that pervade red states like Texas and Wisconsin, but considering all the impending voting laws and deadlines you have to navigate in New York, the disenfranchisement is all the same.

So what happens if you're affected by these laws? You're probably out of luck. But if there has been a serious error with your registration or party affiliation, Gothamist notes that you can try contacting your county's Board of Elections, or getting a court order: "As difficult as this sounds, the city Board of Elections actually stations judges at offices in each of the boroughs on Primary Day to do exactly this."

h/t The Nation