As you read this, most of the evidence of the 2016 presidential roadshow’s stop in Brooklyn is gone. The five candidates who fought hard for the Empire State’s vote over the last several weeks have already moved on to the next political showdown en route to the conventions.
The spotlight on the New York primary revealed just how passionate New Yorkers are about their politics, but it also revealed that we’re still way behind the times when it comes to our voting, and, frankly, how inept our Board of Elections is at fulfilling its responsibility.
Indeed, the presidential primary was marred by reports of upwards of 100,000 voters — including entire blocks and whole buildings — being purged from voter rolls in the borough of Brooklyn, which is very bad news, indeed. The city needs to do everything in its power to make sure this problem is corrected before the next round of primaries in June.
On another front, the energy generated by the closed primaries among Democrats and Republicans was tremendous, but there was something missing: the voice of independent voters, who account for about 29 percent of the New York electorate. They were shut out of both primaries, and could have made a difference in either race.
Also shut out were Democrats who wanted to vote Republican and Republicans who wanted to vote Democrat. They were forced to vote for their party’s choices, or not at all.
Then there were the scores of unregistered voters who couldn’t register and vote on the same day, and working people who couldn’t find the time between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Tuesday to exercise their right to vote.
In our computerized age, the current state of New York’s voting system is inexcusable. Its archaicness breeds voter apathy, as evidenced by the increasingly low turnout in recent non-presidential elections.
Democracy cannot function in a society where voters don’t want to vote, or cannot vote, or are restricted from voting.
We urge our readers to call their elected officials and demand that they pass reform opening up the primary process to everyone, and introducing early voting, online voting and other options that will get people to participate in the democratic process.
It needs to be done, the sooner the better for the sake of our democracy.