New York’s Open Primary

As November approaches, the candidates are beginning to intensify their fight for the party nominations. Donald Trump, John Kasich and Ted Cruz are competing for the Republican nomination, while Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are striving for the Democratic nomination. On April 19, 2016, the state of New York held its primary election.

On the Democratic side, Clinton won the election and maintained her lead over Bernie Sanders. Clinton, a New York native, now holds a lead of over 300 delegates ahead of Sanders in the overall race. Sanders was hoping to win New York to maintain the winning streak he began since April 5, but Clinton ended it last week and continued to win huge states on Super Tuesday, April 26. To win the Democratic Party nomination, Clinton or Sanders must reach 2,383 delegates. Thus far, Clinton holds 1,645 while Sanders holds 1,357. However, the numbers will not be finalized until July at the Democratic Convention.

Of the 95 Republican delegates from New York, Trump won 89. Kasich won the other four, while Cruz did not win any. New York City is the home of Trump Tower and Trump’s empire, and most political analysts projected him to win his native state. He now needs about 300 more delegates to secure the Republican nomination. Cruz is over 600 delegates away from the nomination, and Kasich is over 1,000 away.

New York operates under a closed primary system, meaning only people who are registered as Republicans can vote in the Republican Primary and only those who are registered as Democrats can vote in the Democratic Primary. The date to register in New York is in November of the year prior, which is the earliest registration deadline in the country. Sanders is adamant against the closed primary system, as it eliminates those who either did not affiliate with a party or would like to change their minds.

This year has been controversial as many people reported changes in their registration that they did not make. As voters began to double check their party affiliation before voting in the primaries, several people found that they were unaffiliated with a party despite having registered with one. Upon calling the Nassau Board of Elections, those affected were told that their records showed they had made the change themselves when the voters had no recollection of doing so. Over 200 people have reported this, and a lawsuit was filed in Brooklyn on April 18, 2016 for voters in New York to be given an open primary. An open primary would mean any registered voter could vote in any primary, without consideration of the voters’ registered party.

As the lawsuit continues, there may be a change in the way the New York Primary election is run in upcoming years. This change would benefit those who wish to change their mind based on the candidates presented and ensure that the situation with registration change would not affect the voters’ ability to participate in the democratic process.

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