Author Topic: Voting in Jackson Heights  (Read 2760 times)

Offline willsweeney

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Voting in Jackson Heights
« on: February 21, 2008, 05:11:53 PM »
The recent Presidential primary in New York attracted a large number of voters to the polls in Jackson Heights. However, some people were turned away at the polls because they were not registered in a party that was holding a primary.  Or they were not registered in a party in time to participate in their parties' primary.  For instance, if you register as 'no party' in New York -- you can not participate in the primary election. If you wanted to vote for Clinton or Obama, you had to be  registered in the Democratic party. The same rules hold true for the Republican party. In the general election, you can vote for anyone regardless of party affiliation.

I bring this up because I recently learned of a surprising quirk in New York City law that does not allow someone to change parties AND vote in the new party for one calendar year. For example, if you recently moved to Jackson Heights and decided to register as 'no party'. But you later realize that most of the elected officials are decided in the Democratic primaries and you want to participate in the Democratic primary.  So, say on March 1st, you go and change your registration. It will not be valid for one whole year. You will not be able to participate in a Democratic primary until after March 1st, 2009.

I think this is important for all voters to understand. If they are hoping to participate in the Democratic or Republican primaries for nearly all local elective offices, now is the time to change your registration. You will have to register in a party before Sept 2008 to vote in the next Mayoral and City Council primary races.

For more information go to the New York City Board of Elections http://vote.nyc.ny.us/register.html:

Party Affiliation and the Primary System
In a Primary Election, only voters registered with one of the parties qualified to hold a primary in New York City may vote to nominate their party's candidate to run in the general election.

Candidates nominated by the parties for each office then appear on the general election ballot, along with any independent candidates who gain access to the general ballot without running in the party primaries.

Voting in Primary Elections
Because a primary is strictly a party election, only voters registered with one of the parties conducting a primary may participate in that party's election. Voters registered without party affiliation may vote only in General and Special Elections.

To Change Your Party Affiliation
You can change your party affiliation by obtaining a Voter Registration Form, indicating the change and sending it to the Board of Elections. We will process the information and send you a new voter card reflecting the change in party. You cannot CHANGE your enrollment and vote in the NEW PARTY of your choice in the same year. Please Note: a change of enrollment will go into affect one week following the General Election. The last day to change your enrollment is the same as the last day to register for the General Election (25 days prior to the date of the General Election).

Offline Chuckster

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Re: Voting in Jackson Heights
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2008, 05:49:01 PM »
Will, thank you for your informative post.  That being said, please forgive my ignorance on this subject, but I'm still a bit confused.  Let's say that I'm a registered Democratic wishing to vote in a primary for a local election, but I'm not happy at the time with my Democratic choices, so I decide to opt out and vote Republican instead because that party may have a candidate I'm interested in.  Would I be turned away because I'm not a registered Republican?  Again, I apologize for the confusion, and hope to never be turned away.
The Chuckster has spoken!

Offline erospolitico

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Re: Voting in Jackson Heights
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2008, 05:55:33 PM »
In that situation, you would definitely be turned away.  You must be a registered member of a specific political party in order to vote in their primary.

The election law is very useful to keep party loyalty,  primaries are in a sense private events where party members "confer" to select a candidate to go on to the "big show"

I guess my Political Science degree does come in handy!!!

Offline willsweeney

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Re: Voting in Jackson Heights
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2008, 06:00:53 PM »
Will, thank you for your informative post.  That being said, please forgive my ignorance on this subject, but I'm still a bit confused.  Let's say that I'm a registered Democratic wishing to vote in a primary for a local election, but I'm not happy at the time with my Democratic choices, so I decide to opt out and vote Republican instead because that party may have a candidate I'm interested in.  Would I be turned away because I'm not a registered Republican?  Again, I apologize for the confusion, and hope to never be turned away.

Based on your hypothetical situation-- if you wanted to vote in the Republican primary, you would need to have changed your registration one year prior to the primary to participate. I know it is confusing. And I fear it is confusing on purpose. That is why I'm trying to alert people now before there is mass confusion at the polls. A change in party registration takes one calendar year to take effect.

Offline Chuckster

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Re: Voting in Jackson Heights
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2008, 06:12:31 PM »
Thank you both for your quick responses.  I've never been in the situation that I describe above, but it's pretty surprising that I would not be allowed to change my mind on a candidate; especially if after watching or attending a few debates I decide that my party's candidate is not someone I'm completely happy with afterall.  I'll keep this in mind.  Thanks again!
The Chuckster has spoken!

Offline abee

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Re: Voting in Jackson Heights
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2008, 06:16:07 PM »
Of course you would be able to vote for either party in the general election, but to vote in the primary in NY you have to be registered for the party that you are voting for. If you are "no party" or independent, you are unable to vote for anyone in a primary (registered republicans vote for the republican candidate, registered democrats vote for the democratic candidate), but anyone can vote for anybody in a general election.

Offline JD

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Re: Voting in Jackson Heights
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2008, 08:45:24 PM »
I think it's important to note that some states do allow independents to vote in the primaries, for whichever candidate they choose. By having a restricted primary New York effectively eliminates an independent voter's voice. Candidate's will not spend much time addressing issues important to those who have no voting power. As my high school social studies teacher would say "politics may be dirty, but it's not war; pick a side already!"
- JD

Offline toddg

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Re: Voting in Jackson Heights
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2008, 08:50:58 PM »
Also, it's important to note that over 70% of U.S. cities have non-partisan local elections, which bypasses the corrupting power of local political parties entirely.

Jackson Heights Life

Re: Voting in Jackson Heights
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2008, 08:50:58 PM »