Above: Check out me and my fellow State Committee Members celebrating with Chair Jacobs.
Last week, me and my fellow Democratic State Committee Members passed sweeping voting reforms for the 2020 New York Democratic Presidential Primary. Thanks to the strong support of Jay Jacobs, Chair of the New York State Democratic Party, the reforms passed without any opposition.
For the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary, independent voters can now register as Democrats up to 25 days before the primary on April 28. Voters registered with other parties will be allowed to register as Democrats up to 60 days before the primary.
This represents a huge improvement for New York State, long infamous for its restrictive voting laws. In the lead up to the 2016 Presidential Primary, too many independents and members of other parties were shocked to discover that they needed to change their party registration in 2015, just so that they could vote in the 2016 Presidential Primary.
Improved voter access is both the right thing to do and strategically smart for the State Party. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) considered taking away delegates awarded in the Presidential Primary if the State Party did not improve voter access. This measure ensures that New York will remain the state with the second most delegates at the convention. Meanwhile, this allows more voters to become registered Democrats, increasing the number of Democratic voters in New York State.
While there are still further improvements which could be made to New York’s voting laws, this represents a big step in the right direction.