“Why Deep Blue New York Is ‘Voter Suppression Land’”


In 2016, when the governor of Ohio was asked why he had signed a bill to limit early voting, he had a simple retort: He pointed to another state that had no early voting at all.

When North Carolina’s governor was sued for cutting early voting in his own state, his lawyers cited that same state as rebuttal.

In each case, the state in question was New York. Deep blue, liberal-ideal New York.

Despite its reputation for sterling progressivism, New York has some of the most restrictive election laws in the nation. It is one of just 12 states without early voting. No other state holds its federal and state primary elections on different days. Voters who want to change their party affiliation must do so more than a year before the election, a rule that famously left Ivanka Trump unable to vote for her father in the 2016 Republican primary….

Not only Republicans are to blame for the inertia of voting reform in New York, according to Wendy Weiser, the director of the Democracy Program at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice. Machine politics and the advantages of incumbency make many politicians wary of changing the system.

“Elected officials often oppose changes to the electoral system in which they were elected,” Ms. Weiser said. “It’s the incumbency protection agency: ‘It worked for me, it must be a good system.’”

Mr. Lavine said he expected early voting and merging primaries to pass immediately, but he was more reserved on the prospects of public financing of campaigns or a ban on corporate money; he said the Assembly would give those ideas “great consideration.”


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