NYPAN Members and (D) State Committee Progressives Lead Shortened Change of Enrollment Deadline

NYPAN Members and Democratic State Committee Progressives Spearhead Shortened Change of Enrollment Deadline


Several weeks ago, a determined group of progressive state committee representatives led by NYPAN members and allies from across the state put forward an amendment to the state plan that brought New York into compliance with DNC rules, which would preserve New York’s delegate allotment. A campaign among these committee members and other Democrats was launched, which resulted in hundreds of sympathetic comments and pledges of support for the amendment. Faced with these demands, party leaders reached out to the coalition and agreed to a version of the amendment which allows the following:

  1. All unaffiliated registered voters (aka "blanks") can enroll in the Democratic party by 25 days prior to the presidential primary (likely to be held April 28, 2020) and be eligible to vote in that primary;

  2. All voters registered in others parties can change their enrollment to Democrat 60 days prior to that primary to be eligible to vote in it (this somewhat longer deadline is meant to deter party raiding).

Yesterday, this plan was approved unanimously by the New York State Democratic Committee.

Although legislative codification will be sought, it is not required to effectuate the change. NYPAN Downstate Co-Chair George Albro observed, “For over one hundred years, NY State's Election Laws were synonymous with ancient schemes and illogical deadliness designed, as surely as today's voter ID laws, to suppress the vote, especially of young and independent minded voters. Requiring the over 3 million non affiliated registrants to enroll in a major party close to one year before a primary to vote in that primary, was one such trap for the unaware voter.


Today, the Democratic Party, with a fresh activist base and new leadership that values participation over exclusion, came together to turn the page of history and opted to sweep those antiquated bars aside in favor of allowing more voters to participate in the party's primaries, starting with next year's presidential primary. It's a great day for both large "D" and small "d" democracy.”

NYS Democratic Committee Member from the 113th Assembly District and NYPAN Upstate Co-Chair Jay Bellance from Washington County said, “This is a historic move for the NY State Democratic Committee. It is a new day for the party under the leadership of Chairman Jay Jacobs.

This rule change will energize Democrats and open the door for many new engaged voters to enter into the political process without cumbersome waiting periods. I look forward to working with many new progressive voices to truly make New York the progressive beacon of the United States.”

NYS Democratic Committee Member from the 94th Assembly District, NYPAN Deputy Communications Director, and the youngest member of the Committee Emmanuel Decaudin remarked,

“I am very proud of the progress we have made on this issue. The New York State Democratic Party will no longer lag behind the entire nation in allowing new Democrats to participate in the Primary process. We now call upon the State Legislature to make this change permanent for all parties and primaries, and make New York State the bastion of democracy it deserves to be in the face of a Trump White House.”

NYPAN is a grassroots progressive advocacy organization, founded after the 2016 General Election, and composed of over 30 chapters and affiliates across New York State. NYPAN’s mission is to provide on-the-ground support for progressive candidates, promote progressive legislation on issues including election reform, the environment, healthcare, and social and racial justice, and work with elected officials who will fight to achieve our collective goals. NYPAN is a chapter of Our Revolution and an affiliate of the New York Working Families Party.

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