As Registration Mix-Ups Are Reported, Should NY Democrats Switch To Open Primaries? Lawsuit To Be Filed Monday By Voters

Numerous New York voters on social media are claiming that after being registered as a Democrat for years, their voter registrations are now mysteriously marked as though they have no party affiliation. In a lawsuit that, according to the Daily News, will be filed Monday, voters are claiming that changes made to their voter registrations will prevent them from casting their ballots for Bernie Sanders in the upcoming New York primary.

Over 200 voters from New York have joined a lawsuit that was assembled by the voter advocacy group Election Justice U.S.A.. These New York voters say that the party affiliation on their voter registrations was changed, and not by them. They say that now they will not be able to vote, because of the closed primary system.

“For many of our complainants, to have the electoral process deprived of them, it’s devastating,” Shyla Nelson of Election Justice U.S.A. said.

The lawsuit will be filed in a federal court in Brooklyn, Bernie Sanders’ hometown. In light of the reports of election fraud, the lawsuit calls for New York to make its primary an open primary, allowing voters of any party to cast their ballot for whomever they choose on election day.

“If the primary were open, this would be a non-issue for thousands of registered voters that have had this happen to them. By making the primary open, it eliminates one of the most vexing problems New Yorkers have dealt with in this primary season,” Nelson explained, calling the closed primary “a threat to the democratic process.”

In the meantime, voter advocates suggest that every registered voter in New York should double check their registration status. Should they find themselves switched out of their party, they are being told to request an affidavit ballot, and not leave without casting their vote. By using an affidavit ballot, if the problem is sorted out later, their vote will be counted.

Numerous voters involved in the lawsuit claim that they looked up their voter registrations recently and found that their party affiliation had changed.

“I have been registered to vote at the same address as a Democrat since 1999,” Arleen Haskins wrote on Facebook. Haskins posted a photo of a registration form that says that she has no party affiliation.

Some voters who joined the lawsuit even claim that their voter registration was purged altogether.

In December, a massive breach of voter information took place when “a database totaling more than 300 GB and containing the voter registration records for more than 191 million Americans was found available for open download on the web due to an unsecured website,” Forbes reported. The database contained each voter’s full name, their address, their unique voter ID, their state voter ID, their gender, their date of birth, their date of registering to vote, their phone number, whether or not they are on a national do-not-call list, their political affiliation, a detailed list of their voting history since 2000, and fields for voter prediction scores, Forbes reported.

This information could all be used to determine the likelihood of voting for a particular candidate, and some say is at the root of the altered party affiliations reported in states across the nation.

The same problems of switched affiliations or dropped registrations have been reported in large numbers in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, just as it is in New York, according to Heavy.

Every vote will be crucial in New York where Sanders now only trails Clinton by between 10 to 15 points in the latest polls in New York. These polls don’t factor in gains from Thursday’s debate or any potential voters who may have been moved by Sanders’ visit to the Vatican where he met with Pope Francis on Saturday morning. Sanders could still take New York, but it would require a significant turnout, according to analysts.

Sanders predicts a “surprise for the establishment,” and believes his chances in New York are still good, despite the restrictions caused from the closed primary and reports of voter fraud.

“If we have a large voter turnout on Tuesday, we are going to win this thing,” Sanders said, according to the LA Times.

In Michigan, polls on the eve of primary day still showed Clinton up by 27 points. Sanders’ win in Michigan defied all projections except those of Sanders’ supporters. Sanders won in Michigan because voters showed up in droves, but New York voters will have to work a little harder if the state maintains its closed primary rules, despite the lawsuit.

[Image via Pixabay | Cropped and Resized]