Local voters frustrated by New York primary voting rules

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A lot of people were turned away from voting in the New York primary on Tuesday because they didn’t know the deadline to register with a party was in October.

Several voters arrived at the polls thinking they could vote only to be turned away because New York is a closed primary state, and they weren’t registered as either a democrat or a republican.

“I just want my vote to be counted,” Megan Parsons said. “It’s one person, one vote. And I’m one person, and I don’t get a vote.”

Parsons was in tears on Tuesday. She said the closed primary system prevented her from voting in the primaries.

“I switched party lines so I could vote,” she said. “I don’t care about parties. I care about the candidate.”

Parsons wanted to vote for Bernie Sanders. But to have been able to cast her vote for the Vermont senator, she would have had to switch her affiliation in October 2015.

Parsons wasn’t the only one who didn’t switch in time.

At the Albany County Board of Elections, a line of would-be voters waited to bring their concerns in front of a judge. Party registration was a top issue. Another issue was that people were unaware the polls didn’t open until noon.

Democratic Elections Commissioner Matthew Clyne said he was stunned by the amount of confusion.

“Neither of those issues have ever really been in play,” he said. “At least not since I’ve been here. I’m sure long before that, people have become energized, and they really feel strongly about it.”

Clyne said the Sanders and Donald Trump campaigns have invigorated masses of young people and first-time voters who hadn’t done their homework on the process.

“I think it’s healthy, and it’s designed to prevent party invasion,” he said.

It may be the law, but it was a tough pill to swallow for Parsons.

“I wanted to be heard, but I was shut down after waiting and waiting,” she said. “Waiting to be heard, and I was shut down.”

For those who weren’t able to vote in the primary because they weren’t registered with a party, they will be able to vote in the general elections. Those polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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