La Riva: Massive voter suppression allowed Clinton to defeat Sanders in NY primary


More than 3 million registered voters, or 27 percent of the electorate, were prevented from voting in today's New York State Presidential Primary. The Democratic Party machine in New York has constructed one of the most onerous set of voter registration restrictions in the country. Not only were independent voters prevented from participating in today's primary vote, but so was anyone who failed to register as a Democrat at least seven months ago.

The undemocratic nature of today’s primary in New York is shocking. Ari Berman from The Nation magazine explained in a recent article, “The fact is, New York does have some of the worst voting laws in the country.”

  • New York has no early voting (unlike 37 states), no Election Day registration, and excuse-only absentee balloting (voters have to prove they’ll be out of town or have a disability).
  • The voter registration deadline for the April 19 primary closed 25 days beforehand, when no candidate had even campaigned in New York, and independent or unaffiliated voters had to change their party registrations by October 9, 193 days before April 19, to vote in the closed Democratic or Republican primaries.
  • This disenfranchised nearly 30 percent of New Yorkers.

Bernie Sanders – who had won eight out of the last nine primaries and caucuses – won an overwhelming percentage of the vote of young people tonight. Nearly 80 percent of voters under the age of 30 voted for the Bernie Sanders campaign, which supports free education and free healthcare. But hundreds of thousands of young voters, if they had not registered as Democrats by October 2015, were barred from participation today.

In the last week, Sanders campaign rallies in Washington Square Park, Brooklyn and the Bronx were attended by tens of thousands of people, mostly young people, night after night. A huge part of this groundswell of support for Sanders was not reflected in today's primary because so many of those who support his campaign were not eligible to vote. This system of voter suppression and systematic disenfranchisement more than anything else accounts for Hillary Clinton's victory after her recent series of defeats.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump won handily throughout New York State, giving his reactionary, racist, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant campaign a huge boost.

“We are running as an independent socialist campaign in the general election,” stated Gloria La Riva, the presidential candidate of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL).

“Although we are not Democrats and do not encourage people to join the Democratic Party, which is dominated by Wall Street banks and the military-industrial complex, supporters of my socialist presidential campaign helped distribute thousands of newspapers urging all people who were registered in the Democratic Party to come out and vote for Bernie Sanders. The Democratic Party establishment is so dominated by Wall Street that they pulled out all the stops to suppress the vote in an effort to stop Sanders’ growing momentum. Working people in this country are fed up with establishment politics and are demanding change. Both the Republican and Democratic Parties have taken this country into endless wars abroad while promoting the complete corporate takeover of society. As a consequence of their policies, millions of workers have lost their jobs, poverty has gone up, student debt is at an all-time high, and people can't afford to go to a doctor when they or their family are sick.”

La Riva concluded: “If Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party establishment steal the nomination – whether it be through superdelegates, media bias or undemocratic rules that shut out millions from voting – we urge Sanders supporters to refuse to surrender. We urge them to vote for the PSL’s ticket – to vote for a socialist campaign and continue to build a socialist movement. The stakes are too high to once again capitulate to the Democratic machine and allow it to continue to destroy our future.”