Three million New Yorkers unable to vote in primaries

Protests and lawsuits ensue due to rigid New York state voting laws

Elijah Angulo, Staff Writer

After one of the most important primaries for the presidency, the New York State Board of Elections statistics showed that over three million people were not able to vote.

The New York State primary was closed. People were only able to vote if they were affiliated with a party that was holding the primary.

As a result, millions of independent voters were not able to cast their ballot for a presidential candidate.

The state primary was open to independent voters until October. However, according to The Nation, if they didn’t choose a political party by then they were not allowed to vote.

This may not seem like it would have a large impact on the voter turnout, however, the New York State Board of Elections reports that 27 percent of voters in New York are independent of any political party.

This loss of participation can hurt a candidate who gets a lot of support from the independent population.

This was the case for Democratic nominee Bernie Sanders.

After the ballots were placed, Sanders received over 750,000 votes while Hillary Clinton gained over a million votes. With the votes they received combined, the number still didn’t add up to the three million voters.

Sanders expressed his disappointment to the New York Times, explaining that it is wrong that citizens are paying for an election they cannot participate in.

The Republican Party could have also seen a difference in their final results for the state’s primary.

John Kasich received over 200,000 votes, beating Ted Cruz.

Donald Trump won the state, obtaining a little over 500 ,000 votes.

The votes were close enough to where the independents that were not able to vote could have changed the results of the primary completely.

This change in policy also affects young people who can vote, but have not had time to decide what party to be affiliated with.

“It would be a shame missing out on an opportunity to have an impact on change for the country you live in,” said sophomore Javone Lee. “Which is why it is important to make sure you get an opportunity to vote.”

According to, New Yorkers took action by filing a lawsuit in Federal Court to change the state policy and re-open the primary.

Over 100 people gathered in front of City Hall to protest, and approximately 200 filed the lawsuit, according to the Daily News.

Many believe that the closed primary is an example of the flaws in America’s voting system, but it’s not the only shortcoming. Freshman Oswin Farrell mentioned that although he’s not against the voting process, he was “more so disappointed,” by it.

Farrell explained that, “Since I’m in New York I had to fill out a mail in vote online for Massachusetts… By the time I filled that out it was still being processed when the primary passed.”