There was a story in Wednesday’s NY Post about potential issues at polling places. Mainly, that independents are suddenly realizing that New York has a closed primary, and they’re not going to be able to vote in the upcoming primary. That means that only those registered as Democrats or Republicans are going to get to vote in their party’s primary.
In a previous post, I argued that we needed more closed primaries, and primaries instead of caucuses. The reasons were quite simple:
You have Democrats crossing over to try to sabotage a Republican candidate and vice versa, and you have independents all over the map. Each party is selecting its candidate, and that person should be picked by the people who belong to that party.(bolding added)
It shouldn’t be news to anyone that lives here that New York has closed primaries. Which is why I’m not sympathetic to statements like this:
“Many, many people will be shut out of voting in what very well may be the most important election in a generation in New York state,” said Jeremy Gruber, senior vice president at Open Primaries, a nonpartisan group organizing the New York rally.
“No one should have to join a party to exercise their right to vote,” he added. “We’re a democracy.”
Wrong. This is about two political parties determining who their membership (the people who bothered to register in that party) want to run as that party’s candidate. I know of no organizations that feel obligated to let non-members vote on their rules or officers, and it’s the same thing for a political party. It’s also not “the most important election in a generation,” that one comes in November, and yes, then you will get to vote.
But why wouldn’t I have any sympathy? I first registered vote, and as a Democrat 41 years ago. In that entire time, I’ve never seen an open primary, and I’ve never seen independents complaining about it being closed. In fact, they generally fail to show up at the polls on a regular basis to begin with. But if you want to change parties, the rules have been the same for decades. You get to do it once a year, it must be received 25 days before the general election, and it takes effect a week after the general election. In other words, if you wanted to change parties for this year’s primaries, you had to do it by October 9’th of last year. It’s on the state board of elections website, and there were even news stories about it back then.
If you wanted a voice in who the Republicans or Democrats will nominate as their candidate, you should have registered in that party. If you couldn’t be bothered to do that, or bothered to do some quick web searches about changing party registration, then you’ll get your chance to vote on them in November. Could the requirements about changing parties be changed? Sure, for future elections with some changes in state law. But they’re not going to change now. You see, you don’t get to change the rules in the middle of a game, and you don’t get to change them in the middle of an election season. You have to wait for after the season ends before you can decide on changes for next season. No, complaining about won’t work.