Common Cause/NY Election Day Recap

NEW YORK, NY (08/24/2022) (readMedia)-- Yesterday, New Yorkers voted in an aberrant August primary election for Congressional and state Senate races. As it has for multiple election cycles, Common Cause/NY participated in the largest nonpartisan Election Protection program in the country, recruiting over dozens volunteers here in New York. Volunteers served as either virtual poll monitors or roving or in-person poll monitors to assist voters with urgent questions, protect voting rights, and ensure adequate safety protections at poll sites.

WATCH an election day debrief with Common Cause/NY and others.

"Early voting continues to remain a smart and sound investment for New York, alleviating the burden on Election Day itself, providing the BOE with enough time to work out any kinks and letting voters vote on their own terms," said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY. "We pushed hard for New York to consolidate our primaries to one date in June, streamlining our elections and causing less confusion at the polls. What is happening now is a direct result of New York lawmakers pushing a flawed redistricting process that prioritized politics over voters. Yesterday's election was an anomaly and no one should draw any conclusions from it other than elections should not be split up or held during the dog days of August."

Since the August primary only included Congressional and State Senate races, the pool of eligible voters decreased: only 67% of eligible Democratic voters had a competitive Congressional primary and 42% of Republican voters had a competitive Congressional primary.

Lerner also discussed the impact of a non ranked choice voting election on the crowded Congressional races:

"New York City voters enjoyed ranking their candidates for city office in 2021, and expressed disappointment that they couldn't do the same in crowded, non-ranked choice elections for Congress like NY10. We observed "strategic voting" in which voters felt forced to choose a candidate based on their belief that they had the best chance of winning against another candidate, often pitting two women of color against each other. Many took to social media to express distress that they couldn't vote their conscience without feeling like they may have 'wasted' a vote. Ranked choice also seemed to have a trickle down effect on candidate behavior with several forming alliances in the last days of the campaign."