NYS voters: are you sure you’re enrolled in a political party?

Whenever your name does not appear in the official poll book, you will be offered an affidavit ballot.

voting.womanNew York is a closed primary state, which means only people registered to vote and enrolled in a political party can participate in the April 19 New York presidential primary for the Democrats and the Republicans. Check your party affiliation, and polling location, online by going to this state Board of Elections site.

I am registered, and enrolled!

If you were enrolled in a party, or no party, last year, it’s too late to change your party designation to vote on April 19. That deadline was October 9, 2015, which, I believe, was the earliest threshold in the country. Brand-new voters could register and enroll, but that deadline (March 25) has passed as well.

Anecdotal reports from New York State, as in other states, suggest that some voter registration records have gone from active to inactive, or from enrolled in a political party to nonenrolled. If your party affiliation was dropped or became inactive through the online registration process, check with your local board.

Upcoming deadlines:
April 12 – Last day to postmark an application or letter of application by mail for an absentee ballot.
April 18 – Last day to apply in-person for an absentee ballot
April 18 – Last day to postmark absentee ballot. It must be received by the local board of elections no later than April 26.
April 19 – Last day to deliver absentee ballot in-person to local board of elections.

Here’s a voters’ Bill of Rights. It notes: “Whenever your name does not appear in the official poll book, you will be offered an affidavit ballot.”

In New York City and the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Erie, POLLS OPEN AT 6 AM – CLOSE AT 9 PM. In all other counties, POLLS OPEN AT 12 NOON and CLOSE AT 9 PM, which I hate, because I like voting first thing in the morning.

Voting in the primaries

I would have supported Paul Simon, not the singer but the Senator from Illinois

Fred Harris
Fred Harris

I almost always vote. I may have missed a school district vote in the early days, but I recall casting a ballot FIVE times in 1976: twice on the school budget, for the Presidential primary, for the non-Presidential primaries, and in the general election.

Voting in the primaries is something a LOT of people don’t do, and I find it mystifying. There ARE rules that allow people affiliated with the two major parties to vote, to the exclusion of those not enrolled, which is the way it works in New York State. That is why I’m registered in a political party. OK, in the Democratic party; I KNOW this is a shock to some of you.

The Presidential primary in New York is in April 2016, and I’m likely to vote for Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, my former US Senator. Besides the fact that I think his positions are more aligned with mine, I have a feeling he’ll do better against the Republican candidate, whoever he is, than Hillary would. I wouldn’t count Bernie out.

On Facebook, a guy named Joe Mahoney posted this on February 10: “It should be pretty clear by now that these professional political analysts you see on TV — the people who were convinced a year ago it would be Hillary Clinton vs. Jeb Bush in 2016, no question — have no more wisdom or insight than your typical cab driver or supermarket checkout clerk…”

For reasons of my own memory, I’ve decided to try to record who I voted for in each Presidential primary. This is not as easy as you might think, and not only because of my failing brain cells.
June 20, 1972. My clear preference was Shirley Chisholm, the first black Congresswoman, who served part of Brooklyn. The problem was something Arthur mentioned about the 2016 Illinois primary: “Voters vote for committed delegates running in their Congressional District… However, not all candidates, especially minor candidates, are able to mount a full slate of delegate candidates in all Congressional Districts.”

I’m fairly sure Ms. Chisholm was not on the ballot in my upstate Congressional district. In fact, I’m not even sure there WAS a primary in my Congressional district; the state’s selection was the very last, so George McGovern may have locked up the nomination by then, losing badly to the incumbent Richard Nixon in November.

April 1976. My clear preference was Fred Harris, the rumpled iconoclast Senator from Oklahoma. But was he on the ballot in New York? If not, I might have voted for Congressman Mo Udall (AZ) or Senator Frank Church (ID) instead, but surely not Jimmy Carter. There was some arcane thing that the Carter forces did in New York to keep someone off the ballot, and it ticked me off.

March 25, 1980. Both Senator Edward Kennedy (MA) and Governor Jerry Brown (CA) challenged the incumbent President Carter. Despite the horrible incident in Chappaquiddick, I supported Ted, who actually won New York. At the same time, I was afraid for him. Every President elected, or re-elected, in a year ending in zero had died in office. Moreover, all of Teddy’s brothers had died violently, Joe in World War II, and JFK and RFK via assassins’ bullets. Of course, Jimmy Carter was renominated, but lost the general election. President Ronald Reagan was shot in March 1981, but survived.

April 3, 1984. I actually liked Walter Mondale (MN), Jimmy Carter’s Vice-President, and the eventual nominee who lost to Reagan. But I thought he was too much tied to that failed administration. So I supported Senator Gary Hart (CO). I DIDN’T support the Rev. Jesse Jackson because of an ethnic slur he had made three months earlier, then denied saying for a time.

Paul Simon, not the singer
Paul Simon, not the singer

1988. If he were on the ballot, in New York, I would have supported Paul Simon, not the singer but the Senator from Illinois. Governor Michael Dukakis (MA) won the nomination, but lost the general election to George H.W. Bush.

April 7, 1992. Former Senator Paul Tsongas (MA) was my guy, but he quit the race three weeks before the primary. Did I vote for him or did I switch to Jerry Brown? I DIDN’T vote for Bill Clinton in the primary, but did when he won the general election.

1996. If perennial candidate Lyndon LaRouche even forced a primary in New York against the incumbent Bill Clinton, I’d be mighty surprised.

March 7, 2000. I voted for former US Senator (and former New York Knicks basketball player) Bill Bradley (NJ) over Vice-President Al Gore (TN). After he lost New York by nearly 2-1, and several other states on that day (my birthday), Bradley withdrew two days later. Of course, I voted for Gore v. George W. Bush, and of course Gore wonlost.

Dennis Kucinich
Dennis Kucinich

March 2, 2004. In a primary, sometimes one votes one’s heart. I voted for former Cleveland mayor and then-current congressman Dennis Kucinich (OH), knowing that it was a quixotic campaign. If I were to have voted for someone who I thought might have had a chance to WIN, I might have picked Senator John Edwards (NC), who became John Kerry’s running mate when they lost to Bush/Cheney.

February 5, 2008. On Super Tuesday, the day “on which the greatest number of states hold primary elections”, I voted for Barack Obama against my former US Senator Hillary Clinton, though I had voted for her when she ran for the Senate in 2000. Clinton won New York, but, of course, eventually lost the nomination.

Obviously, Obama was the first Democrat who I ever voted for who actually won the nomination, and, as we know, he became the 44th President when he beat Senator John McCain (AZ). 2008 was only the second time the candidate I supported in the general election won, the first being 1992 with Bill Clinton.

2012. Obama was unopposed in New York State, though he faced token opposition elsewhere. He was reelected President, beating former Governor Mitt Romney (MA).

Well, THAT was more difficult than I thought it would be.

Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton?

I’ve signed Bernie Sanders’ petition to get on the ballot in New York State in April.

clinton-sandersA couple of days ago, Doug Muder at the Weekly Sift said he was undecided who he’d vote for in the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary next week, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. He provided a fair assessment of both candidates’ strengths and weaknesses.

What I have tired of in this campaign has been the major liberal pundits’ case against Bernie Sanders, “urging citizens to ignore their conscience.” The idea of supporting Sanders is neither stupid nor unrealistic.

I think Robert Reich said it best: “Clinton would make the president for the country we have now. Sanders would make the best president for the country we want to have.” And he’s been at it for a long time. Check out this Doonesbury comic from 1981.

Someone on Facebook – sorry, I’ve forgotten who wrote:

I’m getting tired of all these “thoughtful” pundits who claim that Sanders just can’t win and that he’ll never get anything done that he wants to do, etc. If they are trying to get folks to switch to Hillary, they’re doing it all wrong. All they are doing is pissing Sanders supporters (and those who are not totally decided) off. It’s a stupid strategy, unless it’s right wing trolls who want Sanders supporters to stay home if he loses. You want people to get behind Hillary? Fine. Convince me. Don’t bash Sanders.

I like the America ad – what can I say?

Yes, there is some Hillary-bashing from some Bernie people, but it’s a different argument, and in any case, not one I’ve ever made. If the Republican candidate is Ted Cruz, winner of the Iowa caucus, or Donald Trump, likely winner of the New Hampshire primary, or Marco Rubio, waiting for those two to collapse, or actually all the remaining GOP candidates, and Hillary Rodham Clinton is the Democratic nominee, know that I will surely vote for her.

But the primary, I think, means voting with one’s heart. I’ve signed Bernie’s petition to get on the ballot in New York State in April. Barring some unforeseen circumstances, that’s who I’ll be voting for this spring.

I♥NY: to vote in 2016 Presidential primaries, register in a party NOW

In New York State, one must be registered and affiliated in a party by OCTOBER 9, 2015 in order to BE ABLE TO VOTE for that major party’s candidate for President in April 2016. .

votingI came across this website via Facebook, VoteForBernie.org. It does not appear to be authorized by the Bernie Sanders for President campaign. But it had some useful information.

Among other things, it notes whether one had to be a registered Democrat in one’s state in order to vote for Sanders (or Hillary Clinton, or whomever) in next year’s primary/caucus season. And it would likewise apply to Republicans’ ability to vote for their candidates.

Some states allow for Open Primaries. One could vote for, say, Bernie Sanders, regardless of party registration. In Iowa, caucus voters are able to change party affiliation easily.

Others have Semi-Closed Primaries or Caucuses. These states allow people NOT enrolled in a party to participate in either the Democratic OR Republican primary/caucus, but not both.

The rest, such as New York, are Closed Primary or Closed Caucus states, which means only Democrats can vote for Democratic candidates, and only Republicans for the GOP roster.

The VoteForBernie site also indicates when one must register in order to be eligible to vote in the primaries or caucuses. For most states, it is 30 days or less before the balloting, though, e.g.., it’s two months beforehand in Colorado, and three months in Connecticut. (As of this date, there is one obvious error, which I requested be rectified.)

What is it in New York State, I wondered? The primary is tentatively scheduled for April 19, 2016; when I called the state Board of Elections this week, the person couldn’t say definitely, because of some state action that had not yet happened. But REGARDLESS of the voting date, in order to vote in either the Republican or Democratic Presidential primary in 2016, one must be REGISTERED in THAT party by 25 days before the 2015 general election.

In other words, one must be registered and affiliated with a party by OCTOBER 9, 2015, six full months before the primary. This is, by far, the earliest cutoff date in the country. New Yorkers, you have a little more than a month to register for a party. If you miss the deadline, you WILL NOT BE ABLE TO VOTE for the major party’s candidate for President.

I hate Primary Day

I’ve gotten my Mark Ruffalo robocall for Zephyr Teachout and my Hillary Clinton robocall for Andrew Cuomo and mostly for Kathy Hochul.

conversationIn the general election in November, the polls are open at 6 a.m.; I’ve often voted by 6:15. The school budget vote in May allows voting by 7 a.m.

But the polls on Primary Day, which is Tuesday, September 9 this year, don’t open until noon, at least in that tiny part of New York known as upstate. In New York City and the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam (and Erie!) the polls open at 6 a.m.; very civilized.

Worse this year, I don’t think there’s been an inordinate amount of information on the judge races. The Democratic primary race for Albany County Surrogate Court Judge between Stacy L. Pettit and Richard J. Sherwood I know nothing about, other than the minor controversy over Sherwood citing himself as a judge on his campaign posters, and whether that suggests he’s the incumbent for THIS particular position; apparently not. I’m glad that the League of Women Voters has some info on this contest.

Then there’s the race for a seat in the Supreme Court’s Third Judicial District, to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Joseph Teresi. This created a controversy so complicated, involving county Democratic chairman Matthew Clyne’s overreach, that I’m hard-pressed to explain it to people and just send them this TU opinion link.

The candidates themselves do not appear on the ballot, I believe, only their potential supporters, hoping to go to the Democratic Party’s Judicial Nominating Convention in mid-September to help select the party’s candidate for a slot for an area covering Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster Counties.

Currently, all ten judges are white males. Here are the supporters of Margaret Walsh, who fought to get on the ballot. I found the Justin Corcoran for Supreme Court Facebook page; he’s the party leadership’s choice.

In the race for governor, she’ll probably not win, but I have to assume that Zephyr Teachout will do better than the 20% that Casey Seiler predicted. (I also HATED his characterization of her as “Eleanor Roosevelt crossed with Big Bird.” She’s won favor with the anti-Common Core groups, the pro-environmentalists (I got my Mark Ruffalo robocall), and those people who just don’t much like Andrew Cuomo ducking debates, or bullying other politicians away from endorsing Teachout/Wu.

I didn’t even know Randy Credico was also on the ballot for governor until the last two weeks.

If Tim Wu should win the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor – a distinct possibility – Cuomo, if HE wins, will have Wu as his running mate on the Democratic line, but Kathy Hochul as his running mate on the Working Families Party line. (Also got my Hillary Clinton robocall for Cuomo and mostly for Hochul.) As I understand it, the only way to dump Hochul is to find some judgeship to give her, and within a week of the primary. This assumes Wu would accept the WFP designation at this point; Teachout and Wu had sought that party’s endorsement, unsuccessfully.

What have I missed?