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Can my girlfirend vote today?
February 5, 2008 10:56 AM   Subscribe

If someone is registered as an independent can they vote in this primary?

I seem to be getting conflicting answers. State in question is NY, city: New York. The voter registration form says yes, The voter hot line (1-866-868-3692) says NO. What the crap? Is the answer "no" because there is no Independent candidate running in this primary?
posted by zackola to Law & Government (11 answers total)
 
"Independence" is a political party in NY. If you register as a member if the Independence party, you can vote in their primary (if they had one). What you mean by "independent" is that you don't register with any party, and in NY that means you can't vote in the primary.
posted by amro at 11:02 AM on February 5, 2008


I'm not seeing where the voter registration form says "yes." It says:
Voting in Primary Elections
Because a primary is strictly a party election, only voters registered with one of the parties conducting a primary may participate in that party's election. Voters registered without party affiliation may vote only in General and Special Elections.
In other words: if she's a registered Independent, then no, she can't vote for the Dem or Repub candidates. She can, however, vote for whatever ballot initiatives and such that may be out there.
posted by rtha at 11:05 AM on February 5, 2008


The form you cite seems to be consistent that you must be a register Democrat to vote in the Democratic Primary and same with Republicans:

"Because a primary is strictly a party election, only voters registered with one of the parties conducting a primary may participate in that party's election. Voters registered without party affiliation may vote only in General and Special Elections."

also

"The last day to change your enrollment is the same as the last day to register for the General Election (25 days prior to the date of the General Election)."

So it seems to be too late. Registering as no party means that you cannot participate in any party's primary. Note that in some states this isn't true, see "Open Primary."

Also note what amro says, some people register as "Independence Party" when they mean to say "I do not wish to enroll in a party." If she is registered as Independence Party, she could vote in their primary (they do not appear to have one.)
posted by ALongDecember at 11:06 AM on February 5, 2008


Is the answer "no" because there is no Independent candidate running in this primary?

Yes.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:07 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


The answer is no because New York does not have an Open Primary. ALongDecember is exactly right.
posted by kosem at 11:42 AM on February 5, 2008


Not only does New York have a closed primary, but in order to affiliate with a political party in order to vote in the primary election, a NY voter needs to register with that new party 30 days prior to the general election preceding the primary in which they wish to vote.

So if you are unaffiliated with a party, then you needed to decide to join a major party last October in order to vote in today's primary.

Gotham Gazette: No Party Changes Allowed

Although NY does have closed primaries, it is one of the states that allows fusion voting.
posted by andrewraff at 11:43 AM on February 5, 2008


I know this doesn't cover the exact question, but it might be helpful - I just called the MA Elections Division about this question. In Massachusetts the primary is semi-open; that is, if you're affiliated with a party you can only vote in that party's primary, but if you're an independent you can vote in any one that you wish.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:56 AM on February 5, 2008


I know this doesn't cover the exact question, but it might be helpful - I just called the MA Elections Division about this question. In Massachusetts the primary is semi-open;

NY's is closed, however, and so this doesn't apply.
posted by rtha at 12:17 PM on February 5, 2008


I know this doesn't cover the exact question, but it might be helpful - I just called the MA Elections Division about this question. In Massachusetts the primary is semi-open;

NY's is closed, however, and so this doesn't apply.


but it saves me a phone call. Thanks, backseatpilot!
posted by strangememes at 12:22 PM on February 5, 2008


yes, count me among people that tried to join the democratic party so i could vote in the primary in ny, but was told i cannot register for a party btwn general elections.
posted by alkupe at 12:24 PM on February 5, 2008


Depends on the state. In West Virginia, for example, an Independent can vote for Republicans in the primary.
posted by TomMelee at 5:30 PM on February 5, 2008


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