New York Election Laws Lead To Plenty Of Ballots But Little Innovation

Why does New York have so many primary and elections dates this year? In Politico NY, Bill Mahoney takes a look:

“the state gives residents plenty of opportunities to take time out of their busy days to wait in long lines to cast their ballots. Residents of Albany County, for example, will have the opportunity to cast ballots on six occasions this year: In February, they voted on a school construction funding referendum, in April they cast ballots in the state’s presidential primary, in May there’s the vote for the school budget, in June there will be congressional primaries, in September they’ll choose candidates in primaries for state and local offices and, finally, in November they’ll vote in the general election.

This surfeit of elections may delight stalwart citizens who enjoy exercising their franchise, but it’s not without drawbacks. Most estimates peg the cost to counties of each extra statewide primary at somewhere between $25 million and $50 million.

And it’s likely that each additional election lowers turnout, even among the hardiest voters.

According to data maintained by the United States Election Project, the turnout of less than 20 percent for April’s presidential primary was the second lowest among states with primaries this year. This wasn’t a one-time blemish, either: The state Bar Association has concluded that New York ranks 47th in turnout. To illustrate the point, only about 3 percent of Democrats showed up for Nassau County’s 2015 district attorney election.”

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