When we hear about voter fraud allegations made by Republicans against Democrats, it’s generally a case of people voting twice, voting in places where they shouldn’t be registered or voting while dead. When the charges are leveled at Republicans, it’s most frequently in the form of new laws which ostensibly make it “harder” for people to vote. But New York has come up with one I hadn’t run across before. People claiming to have been previously registered with one party or the other are showing up to check their registration prior to the primary on Tuesday only to find that they are now registered as independent or not affiliated, meaning they are still registered for the general election but are not eligible to vote in the closed primaries this week. (New York Daily News)
More than 200 outraged New York voters have joined a lawsuit claiming the party affiliation on their voter registration changed without their consent. The voters say they are unfairly being shut out of Tuesday’s primary.
The suit, to be filed Monday in Brooklyn, calls for New York to be an open primary state, allowing anyone to vote in primaries regardless of party affiliation.
“For many of our complainants, to have the electoral process deprived of them, it’s devastating,” Shyla Nelson, an activist and spokeswoman for Election Justice U.S.A., told the Daily News.
Rather than seeking to find out how the switch happened and who might be responsible for it (assuming it was intentional and not some sort of computer glitch) the plaintiffs are calling to change the state system to an open primary. Our closed primary is being described in the filing as a threat to the democratic process.
While the local news is saying it either is or could be happening to people from both parties, they only seem to be coming up with Democrats as examples. And for that matter, they look to be younger Democrats voting in their first or second election. I’m sure it would be a leap to say that the victims identified thus far seem to fall neatly into Bernie Sanders’ demographic sweet spot rather than Hillary Clinton’s, but it’s certainly curious to observe.
Getting to the bottom of this shouldn’t be terribly difficult, assuming anyone is willing to investigate it. One 19 year old from Long Island says she called to complain when she discovered the error and was told specifically that “she had filled out a form in September change her party affiliation and sent it in October.” That’s pretty specific and it implies that the person she spoke to either had a voter information change card in her hand or was reading information off a screen which was fed into the system from such a card. If the card can be located and it’s not in her handwriting then somebody is due for a visit from federal officials. If there are no such cards for these people then I suppose it’s possible that it was a computer glitch, but it would be a darned peculiar one.
Further, if they can’t come up with a number of victims from each party proportional to the spread of registered party members in the area and it’s really all Democrats, then something is definitely fishy here. But the solution is not for the courts to suddenly order New York to have an open primary. Frankly, I don’t know why voters in other states tolerate open primaries and fail to demand a change. This isn’t the general election. It’s a primary to select the nominee for each party. If you don’t want to register as a member, don’t complain about not being able to vote.