Posted on April 09, 2020 at 12:30 PM
All New Yorkers Will Not Be Able To Vote on June 23
Open Primaries stands for a simple truth-that the right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy. Which is why, while we support Governor Cuomo’s decision to allow absentee voting for New York’s primary elections on June 23, his statement that all New Yorkers will be able to access it is patently false. Millions of independent New Yorkers will continue to be disenfranchised.
Many Americans, for the first time, have been confronted with what it means to have their right to vote threatened. It’s a deeply unsettling feeling. As citizens, the act of voting is a crucial way we communicate with and guide our elected representatives. It’s why the Governor rightly declared: “New Yorkers shouldn’t have to choose between their health and their civic duty.”
But as New York’s Governor and state leaders address the threats of the moment, we can not forget that these challenges are felt by independent voters every election season.
There are over 3.2 million registered independent voters in New York who are legally barred from voting in primaries. That is more voters than exist in the entire neighboring state of Connecticut.
We stand in poor company, as one of only twelve states that have not taken action to address this stark inequality. That has to end.
Primary elections are taxpayer funded and government run. They are often more competitive and therefore more meaningful than the general election; as leading candidates are chosen and political platforms are developed. Every New York voter-Republican, Democrat and independent- should have the right to participate in them. The strength of our democracy rests on offering every voter that right.
As we address this current crisis and ask how we can make voting this election season accessible, safe and accurate, we must also ask “What about those of us who can’t vote at all?” It is incumbent upon all New Yorkers to address that question head on in the months to come.