City and State:
Despite some high profile and important races, few New Yorkers are expected to vote in Tuesday’s primary. To make matters worse, this is just the first of two primaries in the state this year.
Unlike voters across the country, New Yorkers are being asked to participate in two primaries—one on Tuesday for federal offices and one on September 9 for state and local offices. It is not common to hold two primaries because it is expensive and requires voters to go to the polls twice something that is almost certain to depress turnout.
New York’s dual primary system is not cheap. By some estimates it costs the state a whopping $50 million. Talk about a fleecing.
An arguably more important issue, however, is that it decreases voter participation in a state that already has one of the lowest turnout averages in the nation. Over the last thirty years turnout in New York has been well below the national average. In 2012, a presidential election year, just 53 percent of New Yorkers cast ballots compared with an average 58 percent nationwide. This placed New York 44th among all the states and Washington, D.C. in turnout. In 2010, the last midterm election, turnout was even lower. While New York had previously been ranked one of the 10 lowest turnout states, by 2010 the state had the unenviable distinction of ranking dead last in terms of turnout.