Voters in New York have the option of changing their party affiliation before the state’s August primaries for congressional and state Senate elections, Gothamist reports.
New York election law states that voters have until Feb. 14 to update their party affiliation. After that, they have to wait until after the state’s June primary for New York Assembly and statewide posts. However, the state court decision on redistricting created a new primary that takes place in August, meaning voters can change party affiliation just before it occurs.
"This year is an anomaly," Vincent Ignizio, the deputy executive director of the New York City Board of Elections, told Gothamist.
He added that voters can either change their party affiliation now or ask for an affidavit ballot when they go to vote.
"By way of the courts, and without intention, it will test an open primary-type system in New York," Ignizio said.
Ignizio added that election officials are "hoping" that the change will get more residents interested in voting.
"We're hoping that more people say, You know what? I'm gonna go and vote in whichever primary they want," he said.
Gothamist notes that of New York City's 5 million registered voters, 3.4 million are registered as Democrats, while 1.6 million are registered to other parties or not affiliated with any political party who could potentially vote in the heavily competitive Democratic primary races.
Dustin Czarny, who chairs the New York State Election Commissioners Association's Democratic caucus and serves as Onondaga County’s Democratic elections commissioner, noted that "these are the unforeseen consequences of adding a second primary into the election mix in May."
John Opdycke, the executive director of the advocacy group Open Primaries, told Gothamist: "I think that everybody running in those races should take advantage of this opportunity and say, We could campaign to independent voters, those voters that we typically ignore."
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