Closed Presidental Primaries are a Bad idea

So, I have decided to do a political blog.  Today is voting day in New York for the presidential primaries.  However, NY is a state that has closed primaries.  This means that you have to be registered in a particular party in order to vote for a member of that party.  If you are not registered Democrat or Republican, you can’t vote.  So, onto the problem with this system.

I am 39 years old and there are many from my generation and younger who have been tired of the two party system.  With this being the case some of us have registered parties that are neither Republican or Democrat.  Personally I registered for the Working Families Party, and others are in parties such as the Independent and Green parties.  Being that I had a distain for politicians I didn’t bother with the voting process until 2012.  It was particularly frustrating to decide who to vote for when there are so many lies and half-truths that I didn’t really get involved.

After experiencing the world for a bit and going through varies struggles I became more motivated to pay attention to what is going on.  Memes on Facebook started pouring in supporting and dissing various candidates.  I decided to go on youtube and start listening to the political debates a couple of months ago.  I have to admit, some of the things Bernie Sanders was saying were things I agreed with and after doing some research I became a big Bernie supporter.

The first thing I did after this was research on how to influence the primaries by voting.  Granted, I should have known this but I didn’t for some reason.  Perhaps some of the political words didn’t connect, for example, I didn’t know the difference between a primary and general election.  After doing more research I learned that in order to vote that one had to register to vote by March 25th and the way to change parties was to basically reregister to vote.  It was February so I had about a month.  I reregistered and thought everything was going to be fine.

Then BAM!!!!!!  I found out if one was already registered in a different party and reregistered for another that this needed to be done back in October.  Again, I was ignorant of this.  Come to find out, I wasn’t alone.  Many people who support Bernie Sanders are unable to vote in the primaries because of this law.  It seems that Bernie has strong support from the younger generations, yet it is the younger generations that have registered under parties that make it so they can’t vote in the primaries.

So what happens if Bernie has more supporters than Hillary but loses the election because of the closed election process.  Hillary is a hardcore democrat whereas Bernie kind of doesn’t fit as nicely into the Democrat party and therefore seems to have gathers support from those outside the 2-party system.

I say that NY State should have open primaries from now on.  In fact, all states should have them.  Let me deal with a few objections:

  1. “It is your responsibility to have known this when you registered to vote.” Perhaps, but shouldn’t I register for a party whose platform I most closely agree with? Should I be banned from voting in the primaries because I am not affiliated with the two-party system?  Plus, not everyone has been instructed in all these things and I don’t remember the registration form saying anything about this.
  2. “If it becomes an open primary then people may vote for the least likely candidate to win in the general election of the party they don’t want in office. In other words, a Republican might vote for Hillary Clinton in the primaries because polls indicate that she is more likely to lose against the Republican candidate than Bernie Sanders.”  This seems like a valid argument at first, but each person gets to vote only once.  They will still have the same influence as another voter.  Plus, this can be done whether the primary is opened or closed.

As far as I can tell, there are more reasons to have open primaries than closed.  How are people going to be motivated to be part of parties outside the 2 main parties if they are banned from voting in the primaries as a result?  How can these parties grow if people leave them so they can have the opportunity to vote?

As for now I found this petition in which you can sign to make primaries open in New York.  Hopefully by next election more states will have open primaries