27 Percent of New York’s Registered Voters Won’t Be Able to Vote in the State’s Primary

In June 2013, North Carolina passed the most sweeping voting restrictions in the country, requiring strict voter ID, cutting early voting and eliminating same-day registration, pre-registration for 16 and 17-year-olds, and out-of-precinct voting, among other political reforms. The state defended its cutbacks in court last summer by invoking, of all places, New York.


“The state of New York has no early voting as opposed to North Carolina that has ten days of early voting,” lawyer Thomas Farr said. “The state of New York has no same-day registration. The state of New York has no out-of precinct voting. The state of New York has no preregistration.”

It was a cynical defense of North Carolina’s law—North Carolinians don’t deserve to suffer because a state five hundred miles away has different laws—but it was still unnerving to hear a Southern state invoke a progressive Northern state to rationalize making it harder to vote.

The fact is, New York does have some of the worst voting laws in the country.

New York has no early voting (unlike 37 states), no Election Day registration (the state constitution requires voters to register no later than 10 days before an election) and excuse-only absentee balloting (voters have to prove they’ll be out of town or have a disability.)

The voter registration deadline for the April 19 primary closed 25 days beforehand, when no candidate had even campaigned in New York, and independent or unaffiliated voters had to change their party registrations by October 9, 193 days before April 19, to vote in the closed Democratic or Republican primaries. This will disenfranchise nearly 30 percent of New Yorkers, including, most famously, the Trump children, who didn’t change their registrations from Independent to Republican in time.

It’s easy to poke fun at the ignorance of Trump’s kids, but 3 million registered New Yorkers won’t be able to vote in the state’s primary because they are not affiliated with the Democratic or Republican parties. Open primaries and Election Day voter registration, which also increases voter turnout by up to ten percent, would solve this problem.

Moreover, New York is holding three primaries this year, as Chris Hayes noted—April 19 for president, June 28 for Congress and September 13 for state and local offices—which seems designed to keep voter turnout low for local elections. New York ranked 44th in voter turnout in 2012 and similarly low on the Center for American Progress’s “Health of State Democracies” index, receiving a D- for accessibility to the ballot.

#story_page_ below_article

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.