New York Voters Petition Senator Bernie Sanders to Support Landmark Lawsuit Challenging Legality of New York’s Closed Primary Election System - Open Primaries
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Posted on November 21, 2016 at 3:17 PM

Jeremy Gruber
Senior Vice President
[email protected]
(609) 610-1602


New York Voters Petition Senator Bernie Sanders to Support Landmark Lawsuit Challenging Legality of New York's Closed Primary Election System

New York – November 21, 2016 – Open Primaries, a non-profit electoral reform organization, today sent a petition signed by 3,407 voters to Senator Bernie Sanders requesting his attendance at a hearing before the New York State Supreme Court challenging the legality of New York's closed primary system.

On the morning of New York’s 2016 presidential primary Bernie Sanders stood with New Yorkers and declared:

“Today, 3 million people in the state of New York who are independents have lost their right to vote in the Democratic or Republican primary. That’s wrong. You’re paying for this election. It’s administered by the state. You have a right to vote. And that’s a very unfortunate thing, which I hope will change in the future.”

The lawsuit, brought by Mark Moody, an attorney and a registered Independent who was blocked from voting for Bernie Sanders in the New York primary, challenges New York’s closed primaries as unconstitutional. In New York State, the party-switching deadline for the April primary was Oct. 9, 2015 — more than six months before the primaries. Only Registered Democrats and Republicans are eligible to vote in their party's primaries and Independents are ineligible. The Moody lawsuit charges that requiring New Yorkers to choose party affiliation at any point in advance of casting a vote in any primary election for public office violates the New York State Constitution.

"Senator Sanders is a known champion of open primaries, and we are asking for him to stand up once again -- as he did on the day of New York's closed presidential primary, in April -- and call for the enfranchisement of the 3.2 million New Yorkers who are locked out of their electoral system,” said John Opdycke, President of Open Primaries. "It is a problem that independent voters are being excluded from the political conversation at precisely a moment in our country's history that their voice is most needed. This lawsuit is important. We need more open doors, and more participation, not less, to grow our state. I hope Senator Sanders will support it."

"Millions of my fellow New Yorkers are being denied the right to vote because they don’t want to join a political party. To put that in perspective, that is half a million more voters than are registered with the Republican Party in New York. It's also more than the total number of registered voters in the entire states of Vermont, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, and Montana combined. That’s not right.

In the wake of Mr. Trump's election, Governor Cuomo has been promoting the inclusiveness and progressiveness of New York. I think he ought to tell his Attorney General to stop opposing this lawsuit”, added Mark Moody.

Dozens of New Yorkers will be joining Mark as he challenges New York’s closed primary system. You can join them on December 6th, 3:30 pm. Judge Engoron's courtroom. 80 Centre Street, Room 328.


Open Primaries is a national, nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization working to enact open and nonpartisan primary systems, counter efforts to impose closed primaries, educate voters, train and support spokespeople, and participate in the building of local, state and national open primaries coalitions. Open Primaries is a movement of diverse Americans who believe in a simple, yet radical idea: no American should be required to join a political party to exercise their right to vote.

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