Today is the NY Primary, and it marks the end of the 2018 primary season. While NY had its primary for House races, the statewide race nominations are being decided today. The build-up to it has been tremendous. However, NY has issues with turnout. The NYT Op-Ed explains it pretty well.
New Yorkers pride themselves on being among the most politically engaged citizens in the country. So why don’t they vote?
From Buffalo to the Bronx, voter turnout in New York is abysmal. In November 2016, when everyone in America seemed to have a strong opinion about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, only 57 percent of the state’s registered voters showed up at the polls. That was lower than 40 other states. But it was at least better than New York’s turnout for the 2014 midterms — 34.4 percent, 48th in the nation. Only Oklahoma and West Virginia did worse.
The picture in federal and state primaries is starker yet. Because New York’s electorate is heavily Democratic, the primaries effectively decide many elections. And yet in last year’s primary for mayor of New York City, only 12 percent of eligible voters bothered to weigh in.
So why so low?
Why is it so bad? For starters, blame the state’s “stupid policy,” as a political scientist described it to The Times recently. Sure, there’s reason to criticize other states for cutting back on polling places or hours, or passing voter-ID and proof-of-citizenship laws that make voting harder, especially for minorities and other vulnerable groups. But who are New Yorkers to judge? Their own electoral laws and practices are mired in the Dark Ages, prevented from entering the 21st century by lawmakers trying to protect their jobs.
It’s made worse by the city and state election boards, which run federal, state and local elections — a crucial job that needs to be done by professional, nonpartisan agencies. In New York, the boards are rife with incompetence.
You can read the rest here on the fixes NY could make; otherwise, it’s designed to protect incumbents. We all know what happened too well with the rolls in 2016, particularly in Brooklyn.
For many months, the media has had more eyes on the Governor’s and Lt Governor’s races. It is going to be a shootout in the Empire State between the incumbent Andrew Cuomo vs Cynthia Nixon, who doesn’t have any elective office experience, but has been the political fray since legal marriage equality was at the forefront late in the last decade. She won an award from GLAAD in 2010. Nixon, who is endorsed by Our Revolution and the Working Families Party, campaigned on some signature issues:
- NY infrastructure, in particular the NYC Subway system
- Universal Rent Control (affordable housing)
- Medicare for All
- Universal education
- Legalization of marijuana
If nominated, she would be in the general election to vie to become NY’s first woman governor.
— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) September 13, 2018
Jumaane Williams is one of the candidates for Lt. Governor. He is the current NYC Council Deputy leader, having been elected to serve on the Council in 2009. Among his accomplishments (source: Wikipedia):
- Williams was elected after defeating incumbent Councilmember Kendall Stewart in the Democratic primary in September 2009 by a margin of 12 points. Williams won the general election as well, with an endorsement from the Working Families Party. He was re-elected easily in 2013.
- In June 2013, the New York City Council passed Williams’ Community Safety Act, which established an Inspector General to oversee the New York Police Department (NYPD) and created an enforceable ban against bias-based profiling. The Act was passed over then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto. Williams has been an outspoken opponent of the NYPD’s approach to Stop-and-frisk in New York City.
- In July 2013, he introduced “house party” legislation where parties with 40 people in attendance or more would have to register with the police. He also wants event organizers who advertise on social media and those charging admission to pay fines.
- On Jun 29, 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed Williams’ legislation, the Fair Chance Act, commonly known as Ban the Box. The law prohibits public and private employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until a conditional offer of employment is made.
- On August 13, 2015, the New York City Council passed Intro. 700, Williams’ legislation which, along with bills sponsored by Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito and Council Member Dan Garodnick, established regulations for “tenant relocation specialists”, individuals who are employed by landlords to buy out tenants. The legislation was signed into law by the mayor on September 9, 2015.
Williams has been endorsed by the Bernie Sanders,NYT, Our Revolution, Justice Democrats, and the Working Families Party. His opponent is the 77th and current New York Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul. A former representative of New York’s 26th Congressional District in the U.S. House, Hochul was elected on a ticket with incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2014.
Running for Lt Gov because everyone knows how bad @NYGovCuomo is, his Lt Gov like many in Albany, fail to speak up & speak out when the people's work isn't being done.
— Jumaane Williams (@JumaaneWilliams) September 13, 2018
The other closely watched race for the state’s Attorney General. Zephyr Teachout, an activist and professor of law at Fordham University, is in a tight election with Letitia James, the New York City public advocate, who was endorsed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and is backed by the Democratic Party in New York; Sean Patrick Maloney, a congressman from the Hudson Valley; and Leecia Eve, a former top aide to Hillary Clinton and Mr. Cuomo. Teachout has been endorsed by Bernie Sanders, Our Revolution, and Justice Democrats.
She has to wait 12 more years to vote. Vote today for her future and all 6 years olds that are depending on us. Your vote is an incredible source of power! https://t.co/y6bvrwzPw4
— Zephyr Teachout (@ZephyrTeachout) September 13, 2018
There are also 63 state representative and 150 state congressional races as well. Polls do not close in NYC area until 9ET.
I hope voters have checked to see if they are enrolled. DNC Unity Commission member Nomiki Klein found out today she was not.
Went into vote skipping. But just found out my name was not listed on the roll at my polling place. Despite having the recently sent documentation from board of elections with me. Had to fill out provisional. #Astoria #Queens #NYPrimaries pic.twitter.com/X1koftPJut
— Nomi: TODAY Vote Cynthia, Jumaane, Zephyr ? (@NomikiKonst) September 13, 2018
And a little Billy Joel to set the mood…
This also serves as an open thread. See you in the comments!