Frustrated New Yorkers Call for Election Reform at Rally on City Hall Steps;
Restrictive Primary System Excludes Voices of 3.2 Million Voters in New York
Independent voters and advocates of open primaries will gather on the steps of City Hall on Thursday to address the glaring shortcomings in New York’s election system that will exclude over 3 million voters in the state – close to one million in NYC – from casting ballots in the April 19th primary election despite being required as taxpayers to pay for it. They will also call for this issue to be addressed by candidates Clinton and Sanders in the NYC debate and for the Democratic and Republican Parties to open up the primaries. This event is hosted jointly by Open Primaries, IndependentVoting.org, and the New York City Independence Clubs.
What: Rally for Election Reform in New York
When: Thursday April 14th, 12:00pm
Where: Steps of City Hall | City Hall Park, New York, NY 10007
Who: Speakers include:
· New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele
· John Opdycke, President of Open Primaries
· Jackie Salit, President of Independent Votin
With 2/3rds of the primary election process completed and questions about the integrity of the nominating process rampant across the country, attention turns to New York, a liberal state with some of the most restrictive laws in the country governing primaries and the voting rights of independents – many of whom are millennials and people of color.
Voters are frustrated. As New York’s own Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) observed in an op-ed in the New York Times in 2014, in order to “save America” it is necessary to “end partisan primaries” – an urgent call for reform still unanswered by the political parties or candidates in this election season.
“New York is a powerhouse state. But the political rules keep the voters powerless. Next Tuesday is primary day. But Independent voters are shut out and everyone else was forced to pick which primary they wanted to vote in six months ago! There is a national movement growing to reform the primary system so that it works for the voters, not the parties, and nowhere is open primaries more necessary than in New York,” declared John Opdycke, President of Open Primaries.
Key facts in the fight for Open Primaries in NY:
· 3.2 million Independent, third-party and unaffiliated voters are shut out of NY’s primary, a number larger than registered Republicans (2.7 million).
· One-third of millennial voters, one-third of Asian voters, one-fifth of Latino voters and one-eighth of African-American voters are denied the right to vote in the NY primary.
· Independents who wanted to vote in New York’s April 19th presidential primary would have had to give up their chosen political identity and re-registered with a political party by October 9th, 2015, the earliest deadline in the entire country.
· Assemblyman Fred Thiele has introduced a bill to open the Presidential Primaries to independents and a bill for Top Two nonpartisan primaries in New York.