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Open Primaries, Balance For Growing Number of Independents in New York

Hundreds of the 3.2 million independent New Yorkers who can not vote in the NY Primary

A group of independent voters and advocates rallied on the steps of City Hall Thursday pushing for an open New York State primary.

There are about 3.2 million independent state voters and approximately 21,000 independent county voters who won’t be able to cast a vote in Tuesday’s primaries.

According to Wikipedia, an open primary is a primary election that does not require voters to be affiliated with a political party in order to vote for partisan candidates. In a traditional open primary, voters may select one party’s ballot and vote for that party’s nomination. As in a closed primary, the highest voted candidate in each party then proceeds to the general election. In a nonpartisan blanket primary, all candidates appear on the same ballot and the two highest voted candidates proceed to the runoff election, regardless of party affiliation. The constitutionality of this system was affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States in 2008, whereas a partisan blanket primary was previously ruled to be unconstitutional in 2000.

A group called open primaries have taking the lead to push for open primaries in New York. The goal is to get New York State to follow suit of New Hampshire, Illinois and Wyoming, which have had open primaries for years.

State Assemblyman Fred Theil, the only Independent assemblyman, introduced two bills that would allow independents to vote in local, state and national primaries.

“New York has some of the most archaic election laws on the planet,” he said.

The state’s board of elections has reported a flood of calls by voters confused and outraged at the rules. Even Ivanka Trump has become a voting-rights advocate overnight, slamming New York’s registration rules as “onerous” at a Republican town hall earlier this week.

According to Open Primaries, about 50% of millennial voters consider themselves independent. “If we’re not listening to what they are telling us we are dooming the country,” Gruber said. The Independence Party of New York says that 37% of New York voters under the age of 30 are independent voters.

Susan Lerner, the executive director at Common Cause New York told Think Progress that election reform bills go before the state every year, and always fail. That said, “Embarrassing the legislators by having outraged voters actually calling their legislators, rather than the board of elections, might actually start to make a difference.”

Without support of the open primary system means that are laws and political system are mostly determined in what’s best for the two major political parties and the status quo that run the parties.

JustToVote-v2When I campaigned as a City Councilman in Mt. Vernon, New York, I was shocked as the number of young people that was registered Independent. I remember this young man who couldn’t be no older that 20 smiled from ear to ear to sign my petition. I also found that many parents were registered Democrats but their children was registered as Independents. Its time for us to recognize the political generation shift from the major two political parties in the black communities throughout the state of New York.

A vast majority of the younger Black voters are becoming less ideological in their political orientation—they don’t see themselves strictly as progressive, liberals or conservatives. Now days many younger Black voters hold multiple perspectives on various issues.

With the many issues in Washing DC and the decaying of many Black communities, younger Black voters don’t believe the two-party system currently dominating the nation’s government is not solving problems such as education reform, violence, the housing crisis and foreign policy. The public, particularly the disenfranchised, is fed up with feuding Democrats and Republicans and playing the blame game on each other why so many people are disanfrancised.

The people are waking up and they have figured that if you vote nearly 100 % for one party you will get nearly 100 % ignored. They do not need to respect you, fear you or care about you. This is why they keep out Independents from open primaries in New York.

We act like politicians and their assigned community leaders are African Storytellers and we vote for the best emotionally delivered fantasy.

What would happen in Westchester if the Black people considered themselves Independent Voters? No major party loyalty, no major party leadership. What would happen if all political parties had to struggle for our vote every election?

Your political leaders will not like it. This is why they fail to pass open primaries. They would actually have to work for your vote. They would actually have to do something for your community.

This won’t happen over night because your community leaders will ridicule it and say it’s a pipe dream. But in reality, your community will be safer, cops will be more responsible, services will improve, prosperity will become available.

Instead of giving your vote to the best Village Storyteller or someone who just tells you what you want to hear for an election, give it to the best producer. Not the best promise but the best results. You will then enjoy results and not insults.

Open Primaries will be the beginning of that process.

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About Damon K. Jones (218 Articles)
Damon K. Jones is an Activist, Author, and Publisher of Black Westchester Magazine, a Black-owned and operated newspaper based in Westchester County, New York. Mr. Jones is a Holistic Health Practitioner, First Aid in Mental Health Practioner, Diet, and Nutrition Advisor, and Vegan, Vegetarian Nutrition Life Coach. Mr. Jones is a 31 year Law Enforcement Practioner, New York Representative of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America. Mr. Jones has been a guest commentator on New York radio stations WBLS (107.5 FM), WLIB (1190 am), WRKS (98.7 FM), WBAI (99.5 FM), and Westchester's WVOX (1460 am). Mr. Jones has appeared on local television broadcasts, including Westchester News 12 “News Makers” and Public Television “Winbrook Pride. You can now hear Damon every Wednesday at 830 AM on WFAS 1230 AM, Morning with Bob Marone Show.
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