New Yorkers: Thinking about voting in next year’s primaries, but not yet registered with a party? You’ve got a few hours to do it.
Voting rights activists rallied at City Hall in Manhattan Thursday to draw attention to the October 13 deadline, the earliest of any state in the nation. It’s fully eight months before some of the primaries will be held next year, and before voters know who many of the candidates will be. (The state holds primaries for different races at different times — which is its own problem).
For New York City voters, the problem is especially severe, because the general election isn’t competitive for many races, so the Democratic primary is the only contest where their votes really matter.
And statewide, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, is likely to face a spirited primary challenge from a progressive.
The issue flared last year when large numbers of independent voters tried to vote for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary in April, only to find out they’d missed the deadline to register as Democrats by over six months.
That led to efforts in Albany to move the deadline, which ultimately failed. Voting advocates say the current system serves the interests of both party establishments, by giving them more control over the election process.
Likewise, New York lawmakers this year declined to approve a number of other voting reforms, including creating early voting, same-day registration, and automatic voter registration. The state ranked 41st in voter participation last year.
New Yorkers can register to vote here.