NY’s ridiculous process to change your political party

Published 11 April 2016 | 423 words | Categories: Politics

In today's news people are laughing about how "Trump's kids aren't able to vote for him." I don't think they know how strange New York's laws can be.

I'm registered to vote in NY as an independent. A few months ago I mailed in paperwork to the board of elections to change my party enrollment. (Only Democrats and Republicans can vote in the New York primaries.) The website says "Application must be postmarked no later than March 25th and received by a board of elections no later than March 30th to be eligible to vote in the Presidential Primary." Sounds good, right? Well...

Nope. I get a letter which reads as "thanks for wanting to change your party but you missed the deadline." I call the board of elections because I didn't miss the deadline listed for presidential primaries. A lady on the phone tells me party enrollment changes are only done once a year. So I have to wait until autumn 2016 for paperwork to be processed. I ask why, and she says the March deadlines are only for address changes and new voters. Would be nice if they said that somewhere visible.

Apparently the deadline was October 2015 for party changes, yet the "deadlines" page still says March.

Now, some people are asking why Trump's kids aren't registered to vote. That'd be a good question - except they are, but like me, had no party affiliation. I'm not sure why it's news that 2 of 3 Trump kids can't vote in the NY primary. Especially considering how weird the board of elections is about the party enrollment deadline. The only way to find clear info is to do a Google search, and the result you need leads to a PDF press release from 2011.

Their FAQ does have two sentences about party changes.

If you wish to change your enrollment from one party to another or from not-enrolled to a party, send a Voter Registration Form with your new choice to your county board of elections. The board will notify you when the change takes place, by Law, after the next general election.

In conclusion: NY doesn't want you to change your political party.

I guess it could be worse? In Colorado no Republicans actually got to vote in a primary. Regular voters were excluded from the process, which doesn't sound democratic to me. And they're not the only state.

Disclaimer: I am not a Democrat or Republican. I don't officially endorse any one candidate.

Update: Here's an article that talks about some of these things.

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