Posted on April 15, 2016 at 1:57 PM
Frustrated New Yorkers Attend Rally at City Hall To Express Outrage, Demand Election Reform
Senior Vice President
Presidential Candidate Acknowledges Primary System is Broken
New York – April 14, 2016 – Hundreds of independent voters and advocates of open primaries gathered today on the steps of City Hall in New York City 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 also called 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.
“The American people—liberals, conservatives, and the millions of us who don’t like labels at all—want progress, innovation, development, new ideas and new approaches. Gridlock and partisanship wrapped up in a bow and sold to us as stability is a lie and a deception, and the people know it. That’s why the open primaries movement is growing day by day all across the country,” said John Opdycke, President of Open Primaries.
Speakers at the event included:
- John Opdycke, President of Open Primaries
- Assemblyman Fred Thiele of the New York State Assembly
- Jacqueline Salit, President, IndependentVoting.org
- Alvaader Frazier, New York City Independence Clubs
- AliAkbar M. Hassonjee, NYU Student Activist
- Juliana Francisco, NYC Independence Club Activist
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders criticized the flawed system at his own New York campaign rally saying, "We have a system here in New York where independents can’t get involved in the Democratic primary, where young people who have not previously registered and want to register today can't do it."
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.
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.
About Open Primaries
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. More information about Open Primaries, its mission and work, can be found at www.openprimaries.org