Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo took action to extend the deadline for registered voters to declare a party affiliation so that many more New Yorkers may be eligible to vote in local primary elections scheduled for June 22, 2021. Leaders of major business, civic and good government organizations are hailing the governor’s move as advancing the cause of democracy and extending the franchise to as many as three million more New Yorkers.
The Executive Order gives registered voters through Tuesday, February 16 to add or change a party enrollment, making them eligible to vote in the state’s closed primary elections.
The following leaders announced their support and thanks for the governor’s Executive Order:
- Heather Briccetti, President & CEO, Business Council of New York State
- Diane Burrows & Lesley Sigall, Co-Presidents, League of Women Voters of the City of New York
- Ester Fuchs, Founder/Director, Who’s on the Ballot?
- Betsy Gotbaum, Executive Director, Citizens Union
- Julie Kerr, Brooklyn Voters Alliance
- Susan Lerner, Executive Director, Common Cause/New York
- Melva Miller, CEO, & Steven Rubenstein, Chairman, Association for a Better New York
- Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO, Partnership for New York City
Legislation setting the February 14 date for party affiliation was enacted last year. The deadline was not well publicized. In fact, the state and city Boards of Election and the state Department of Motor Vehicles have all provided contradictory directives on their websites about whether the deadline is February 10, 12 or 14. Based on legislative language that discounts weekends and holidays, the governor has extended the enrollment deadline through Tuesday, February 16.
Registered voter participation in local primaries has been less than 20% in recent decades. The groups endorsing the extension also ask the legislature to consider legislation that would consolidate the party enrollment deadline with the registration date for new voters: May 28, 2021. This would simplify the process and maximize voter participation in local elections.