By Efraim M. for COLlive.com
Following a previous article in which I explained the importance of every Jew voting and how it would make a big difference in how elected officials treat us, I would like to now take it a step further and discuss the importance of voting in primaries.
When you register to vote, you have the option of becoming a Republican, a Democrat, an independent, or a member of another small party. Your party affiliation does NOT affect who you can vote for in general elections, so a Democrat voter can choose a Republican candidate, and vice versa. Where party affiliation does make a difference is in primary elections, and (in New York) voting in the primaries is even more important than voting in the general election.
For those who are unfamiliar, a primary election is where multiple members of a party compete to be the candidate that the party chooses to run against the other party’s candidate in November when general elections usually occur. As such, only registered Democrats can vote in Democratic primaries, and only registered Republicans can vote in Republican primaries.
Now given that the majority of voters in New York State and even more so in New York City are Democrats, the candidate who usually wins the general election (whether for Governor, Mayor, the legislature, or other races) is a Democrat, with some exceptions that are getting rarer as time goes on.
As a result, while it’s always important to vote in general elections for the candidate that one thinks is best regardless of the chances that they have to win, it’s even more crucial that all Jews register as Democrats and vote in the Democratic primaries since that’s where we can have the greatest influence.
There are two reasons for this:
1. Whoever wins the Democratic primary will in all likelihood win the general election.
2. Voter turnout in primaries is usually lower than in general elections. As a result, the more Jews that vote, the bigger of an influence we can have by selecting the more moderate candidate to be nominated.
As shown here, the presidential primaries will be taking place on Tuesday, 4 Iyar 5780 / April 28, 2020, while the local primaries for statewide offices will be taking place on Tuesday, 1 Tammuz 5780 / June 23, 2020, and the general election for president, the House of Representatives, State Senate and State Assembly will be on Tuesday, 16 Cheshvan 5781 / November 3, 2020.
In light of the aforementioned, I would argue that the June 23 primary is the most important one for us to vote in, as that is where we’ll have the most influence on who will represent us at the state level next year. Also, we have a real chance to elect Chaim Deutsch as our congressman, which will ensure that our voice is heard in the halls of Congress.
In conclusion, I would like to once again remind those of you that haven’t registered, to please pick up a form from the community council as soon as possible and mail it in, and to please be prepared to vote on the aforementioned dates. Together as a community, we will make a difference and finally elect politicians that listen to our voices.