Voting in New York Is a Predictable Mess

People are being put behind bars for voting!
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“New York likes to pride itself on being exceptional — and in the area of election administration, it is exceptionally behind,” Susan Lerner, the executive director of Common Cause NY, told New York this week. Lerner was talking about New York’s raft of retrograde voting policies, including the odd hours polls are open, a lack of early voting, and the difficulty of registering to vote in New York. The state also severely limits a voter’s ability to cast an absentee ballot.

All of these problems keep many people from even trying to vote, but even for those who managed to make it to the polls today to vote in primary races for state and local races, casting a ballot wasn’t as easy as it should be. Voters have shared stories of arriving at the polls and finding they’re not on voter rolls:

Others complained about learning, as they attempted to vote, that they’re not registered in the party they thought they were.

The problem for the voters who were handed a Reform Party ballot above may have been that they were registered independents. The Reform Party allows all unaffiliated voters to participate in its primaries. “If you’re registered to vote, but not in a party, you’ll be given a Reform ballot,” Staten Island Reform Party chairman Frank Morano has tweeted many times this morning. “I think many people may mistakenly believe they’re registered Dem.”

Other voters appeared to be tripped up not by New York’s byzantine rules, but incompetent or deceitful poll workers.

These are but a few of the reasons voter turnout in New York is always among the worst in the nation.