NEW YORK – A reminder for all registered voters in New York – our state holds a closed primary system, meaning if you are not a registered member of the Democratic or Republican parties, you can’t vote in the New York State Presidential Primary on April 19. Any affiliation change for registered voters must have been received by October 9, 2015 and new voters must have been registered by March 25, 2016.
WRFA has learned that some voters who had thought they were registered for a particular party are being told that they are not in fact on the state party registry. Many of these instances are being reported in New York City, although there are also instances being reported here in Chautauqua County on social media like facebook.
Chautauqua County Board of Elections Democratic Party Commissioner Norman Green says his office has received a few hundred phone calls in the past couple days from voters announcing frustration over not being able to vote in the primary. However, he said that after some research, it’s been found that the vast majority of those voters never actually registered with a party, or they changed party-affiliation after the Oct. 9, deadline – making them ineligible to vote for Tuesday’s primary. He did add, however, that there is one instance with a local resident who was correct in saying they had a right to vote in the primary, despite records showing otherwise.
Green also reminds all voters that they have a right to contest being refused to vote by filling out an affidavit ballot, which is provided all poling locations.
Also, residents may also call the State Board of Elections at (518) 474-6336 to contest not appearing on a party’s registry. Voters can even obtain a court order to vote. Every county in the state has a sitting judge on Election Day during polling hours. Ask your polling place or call the BOE to find out where the relevant court is.