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Open Primaries in the news

Rules keep some voters out of New York primary

Posted by John Fernandes on April 19, 2016 at 10:14 AM


This article was written for the Chicago Tribune and was published April 17, 2016.

As New York prepares for its most meaningful presidential primary in decades, some of the candidates' most passionate supporters are finding out they will be spending Election Day on the sidelines.

Under state rules, only registered Democrats can vote in Tuesday's Democratic primary. And only registered Republicans can vote in the GOP contest.

As for the 3.2 million New Yorkers registered with no party or a minor one, they are out of luck if they want to influence the outcome of the Democratic or Republican races. The deadline to switch to one of the two majors for the purpose of voting in the primary passed without fanfare back in October.

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Churchill: New York's election laws are an embarrassment

Posted by John Fernandes on April 19, 2016 at 9:58 AM


This article was written by Chris Churchill for

Albany - The unusual interest in the New York presidential primary is making this much clear: Our election laws are an embarrassment.

When it comes to encouraging voters, the rules in this supposedly progressive and forward-looking state are among the most restrictive and regressive in the country. It shouldn't be surprising, then, that the state's voter participation rates are often among the nation's worst.

In recent weeks, the rule that is getting the most attention is the early deadline for voters who are registered but want to switch or join parties. The October cutoff, the nation's earliest, slipped by when few voters were thinking about the primary.

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Will New York Have An Open Primary? The Empire State's Polls Face Big Questions

Posted by John Fernandes on April 15, 2016 at 1:28 PM


This article was written by Andi O'Rourke for

An Independent from the New York state legislature is trying to do right by the state's estimated 3.7 million independent, or undeclared, voters in New York. This block outnumbers Republicans by an estimated half a million voters. One of the big questions New Yorkers and national primary watchers alike are wondering is whether New York will open the election. This Hail Mary play may signal big changes in the years to come, but it is unlikely to pass out of Albany in this session.

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New York's Closed Primaries Inspire Protest

Posted by John Fernandes on April 15, 2016 at 1:22 PM


This article was written by Josh Russell for

MANHATTAN (CN) — About 150 voters rallied outside City Hall on Thursday in protest of the system that lets only Democrats and Republicans vote for those parties' candidates next week.
     New York has what is known as a closed primary system, but protest organizers say its rules disenfranchise 1 in 4 voters, about 3.2 million New Yorkers, who are not registered with the two major parties.
     Independents supporting Sen. Bernie Sanders were particularly visible in the group Wednesday that chanted, "What Do Want? Open Primaries! When Do We Want Them? Now!"

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How A State Can Prevent 3.2 Million Registered Voters From Voting

Posted by John Fernandes on April 15, 2016 at 1:12 PM


This article was written by Dane Sherrets for The Centrist Project.

On a chilly April day over a hundred protesters gather on the steps of a City Hall and repeatedly chant “Let us vote, let us vote”. You can hear the passion in the protesters voices but you can also sense a silent acknowledgement among them that they will not be able to cast their vote in the immediate future.

This may seem like a scene from a pre-Civil Rights era or a 1920s suffragette rally but, amazingly, it is not. I watched this happen yesterday in New York.

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New York State ripped over election rules that prevent 3 million residents from voting in presidential primary

Posted by John Fernandes on April 15, 2016 at 12:28 PM


This article was written by Erin Durkin for the NY Daily News.

Election reform advocates bashed New York’s closed primary system for leaving millions of voters locked out of next Tuesday’s presidential primary.

The state has a closed primary, only allowing people registered with a particular party to cast ballots in that party’s race. Voters can’t cross party lines — and independent unenrolled voters can’t vote in any primary. 

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Independent voters, advocates call for an end to New York's closed primaries

Posted by John Fernandes on April 15, 2016 at 12:22 PM


This article was published by on April 14th, 2016.

With less than a week before the New York primaries, over a hundred New Yorkers took to the steps of City Hall to call on a change in the state’s election system that would allow all voters to have their voices heard — no matter what party they belong to. 

Independent voters and advocates of open primaries gathered on Thursday afternoon to shine light on the issue of the state’s current closed primaries system which will exclude, they argue close to 3.2 million voters in the state from casting their vote during next week's New York state primary. 

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Sanders faces a hard reality in New York: Some of his most ardent backers can't vote for him

Posted by John Fernandes on April 15, 2016 at 12:16 PM


This article was written by Michael A. Memoli for the Los Angeles Times.

The men and women who make up one of Bernie Sanders’ best political assets in New York are doing just about everything to help him except one: vote.

The Working Families Party, a nearly two-decade-old political force in the Empire State, has sprung into action on behalf of Sanders, the independent-turned-Democratic presidential hopeful. But only registered Democrats can vote in Tuesday's primary, shutting out the nearly 50,000 Working Families members.

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New York primaries: Advocates push to open vote to all

Posted by John Fernandes on April 14, 2016 at 5:56 PM


This article was written by Ivan Pereira for

A group of independent voters and advocates rallied on the steps of City Hall Thursday pushing for an open New York State primary.

There are about 3.2 million independent state voters who won’t be able to cast a vote in Tuesday’s primaries and John Opdycke, the president of the nonprofit Open Primaries, said it was time for everyone to have a voice.

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Obstacles to New York State Voting - Open Primaries President, John Opdycke on Bric TV

Posted by John Fernandes on April 14, 2016 at 4:58 PM


This segment was aired on BRIC TV and published April 13, 2016.

While obstacles to registration and voting get lots of attention come election season, our guests make removing those barriers a full time job. John Opdycke is the President of Open Primaries, an organization advocating for nonpartisan primary systems and we're Assistant Executive Director for Public Affairs at the New York City Campaign Finance Board, Eric Friedman talk about voting in New York.

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