Sunday, April 17, 2016

NY Voters to File Suit Calling Closed Primaries a Threat to Our Democratic System

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.

The case is Campanello v New York State Board of Elections, Eastern District, 2:16cv-1892

“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., said.

New York is one of 11 states that has a Closed Primary system and, due to an obscure election law, voters must have been registered by Oct. 9, 2015 for the Party whose Primary they plan to vote in 2016. This is the earliest change-of-party deadline in the country.

“If the primary were open, this would be a non-issue for thousands of registered voters that have had this happen to them,” Nelson said. “By making the primary open, it eliminates one of the most vexing problems New Yorkers have dealt with in this primary season. It’s a threat to the democratic process,” he added

The Closed Primary system was intended to prevent “party raiding,” when voters switch parties en-masse to influence their rival party’s Primary.

Numerous voters involved in the suit claim they looked up their voter registrations after the deadline passed to find that their Party affiliation had changed from Democratic or Republican to “Not affiliated” or “Independent,” a switch that will bar them from voting in either Primary.

Some voters involved in the lawsuit, who are primarily Democratic, also claim their voter registration had been canceled altogether.

“The integrity of the election process is vital to democracy,” fumed Cliff Arnebeck, an Ohio-based attorney involved with Election Justice U.S.A. who has litigated against election fraud since 2000.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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