New York State's Newly Revised Election Law Changes are Cosmetically Convenient and a Democracy Sham

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Although the New York State legislature has recently passed legislation that will require a constitutional amendment to New York State to reform its voting laws, and Andrew Cuomo as governor signed it into law on January 24thof this year, the changes are outright deceptive. These changes provide the illusion of improving democracy, by leaving unchanged the fact that any New Yorker who wants to vote in a Presidential Primary, still has to register by the first week of October in the previous year of the Presidential Primary election.

The circumstance of primary registration has long been a dilemma that speaks for the historical corruption spearheaded by New York State’s political representatives. Nobody knows exactly when the law was changed but it is presumed to have been the rule of law since at least the 1930s.This new legislation that will require a constitutional amendment to place the law into effect, doesn’t even mention this voting rights quandary. The existing and unchanged primary party registration affiliation law, is what disqualified so many of the 2016 independent voters, who had registered previously believing that their votes would count, when they came out to vote for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump for their respective parties, in the 2016 Presidential Primary. As an election poll worker, I watched first hand as, out of an election district of about 1,200 total registered voters, approximately 75 people who thought they had registered with a party in time, found out they were not listed in the voting rolls, as they had expected and had to cast an affidavit ballot that would be reviewed following the day of election. We took the ballots because we were advised by election officials that we should give the impression everyone has the right to cast a vote, whether it counts or not. We should not turn anyone away, we were told. Of course, following the election, all of these affidavits were summarily dismissed because the voters had not registered by October 9th of 2015, which was the last date to register their political party affiliation, for the following April 19, 2016 primary, and was why they were not on the primary voter rolls. It is also probably why Bernie Sanders lost the New York primary to the Democratic insider, Hillary Clinton.

And the law that governs the primary party affiliation change voting process has been retained with these new voting rights changes. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislators have made sure to pass these cosmetic changes, without even mentioning the elephant in the room, that would threaten incumbent politicians. As such, New York remains the only state in the United States that requires voters to register more than 6 months in advance to vote for their declared Presidential primary candidate of choice during a Presidential election year. For NY state elections, the primary registration window is 11 months. This will continue to be the way New York can keep Democratic and Republican Party candidates to be selected by the party establishment, and keep out independents from switching allegiances at the last moment. We have been conned by the suggestion of democratic improvements. In this way, should Andrew Cuomo lose in his anticipated bid for president in 2020, he still will be only subject to and chosen by Democratic Party insiders for the 2022 NY State Gubernatorial election, as is the same for the NY State senators and assemblypersons that wrote the law. The proposed changes to the NY State Constitution will make Andrew Cuomo appear to be a progressive Democrat even though the law is simply a charade that will likely ensure his renomination as the Gubernatorial Democratic candidate for 2022.


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