CUNY Campuses to Serve as Polling Sites for Presidential Primary

Early voting will take place on campus from March 23 to 30./Kate Dempsey

By Shlomie Katash

 

   Brooklyn College and thirteen other CUNY campuses will once again serve as sites for people to vote in the presidential primaries on April 2. Early voting will also be conducted on campus between March 23 and 30.

   “CUNY remains committed to serving as a good neighbor in the communities that our campuses call home,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez in a statement announcing the initiative. “As they stop by to cast their ballots, we hope that New Yorkers see this as just one way that our University is shaping the next generation of civically-engaged citizens.”

   New York is a closed primary state, according to Vote411, so voters can only participate in primaries with the parties they are registered for. In other words, only registered Democrats can vote in the Democratic primary and only registered Republicans can vote in the Republican primary.

   According to the Associated Press, both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump clinched their respective party’s nominations for president on March 12, setting up a rematch between the two. Biden’ has faced minimal challenges along the way; the most notable have been from former Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips, who, per the New York Times, suspended his campaign and endorsed Biden on March 6, and author Marianne Williamson, who is still running. Trump entered a crowded primary field that included Governor Ron DeSantis, former Ambassador and Governor Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, and more, but has won almost every state so far and netted almost 75% of the national popular vote, according to The Green Papers.

   Despite the lack of challenges to Biden, several states have seen sizable grassroots efforts to protest the president’s handling of the Israeli war in Gaza by voting “Uncommitted,” as reported by the New York Times. The protest has amassed over 466,000 votes, or 3.9% of the vote, to Biden’s collection of over 10 million votes marking 86.6% of the vote so far. In comparison, former President Barack Obama received 90.1% of the vote across all fifty states in his 2012 presidential primary, which totaled to 8 million votes, and “Uncommitted” received 4.9% of the vote, or around 430,000 votes, according to The Green Papers

   While New York primaries do not have an “Uncommitted” option, blank votes are tallied, and activists have started a “Leave it Blank” campaign to symbolize their protest. 

   “Voting blank is actually a pretty common political option around the world,” organizer Brittany Ramos DeBarros told City & State. “So we see this as an opportunity to highlight the ways that as we are highlighting the ways that as we fight for a ceasefire abroad, we also need to be fighting for our democracy here in the United States.”

   However, a spokesperson for the state’s Board of Elections told City & State that it is practice for the blank ballots to only be fully counted and released along with the official voting results that are published weeks later, not the unofficial results that are known the night of the primary.

 

   Voters can find their assigned early voting and Election Day polling sites through the New York City Board of Elections’ Find My Poll Site tool

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