Redesigning NY’s Voter Registration Form
by Paul Wolf - posted 9:22 am, January 16, 2015
After every gubernatorial election, the state Board of Elections prepares new voter registration forms to reflect changes in political parties. Prior to last year’s election there were six political parties but two new parties obtained the required 50,000 votes statewide to become a recognized party. The two new parties being added are the Women’s Equality Party and the Stop Common Core Party.
The New York Daily News in a recent editorial called for the New York State Board of Elections to “… redesign the forms to prevent the Independence Party from duping voters into signing up by exploiting the similarity between its name and the word “independent.””
Politicians are masters at hijacking language, I know from my own personal experience of talking to voters that many people registered to vote Independence under the assumption that it meant they were “independent” and not part of a political party. Independence is a recognized political party in New York State. The play on the words “Independence” and “Independent” was a genius sneaky way to obtain a large number of registered voters. The Daily News interviewed 200 registered Independence voters and determined that 85 percent of them thought they were registering as an independent not affiliating with any political party. The Daily News refers to the Independence party enrollment numbers as a “long-standing fraud”.
Douglas Kellner the co-chair of the New York State Board of Elections submitted a proposed redesigned voter form at the January meeting of the Board of Elections. The issue will be discussed further at the Board’s February meeting. The current registration form has a section for “political party,” where six parties are listed, followed by “other” and “I do not wish to enroll in a party.” Critics have said the appearance of “Independence Party” before the option to be unaffiliated results in thousands of voters accidentally joining that party’s ranks. The new form separates “I do not wish to enroll in a party” from a list of parties appearing under an option labeled “I wish to enroll in a party.”
What do you think of the proposed new form?