New York State has not been part of the national campaign to suppress the vote. It doesn’t have to. It already suppresses the vote. In fact, New York State is a model for voter suppression that Republican state legislatures aspire to.
Take primaries. Most states hold some form of open primary or caucus that allows independents to participate. Not New York, where independents outnumber Republicans. While some states allow independents to join a party when they arrive at the polls, New York requires independents to join 11 months in advance.
Hazel Dukes, president of the NAACP New York State Conference, has been a key part of this latest push to achieve voter access reform in New York state. Born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1932, Dukes is also a member of the NAACP National Board of Directors, the NAACP Executive Committee and various NAACP board sub-committees. The following excerpt is from an article written by Dukes and published in the NY Daily News. Take a look at the article titled, N.Y. needs its own voting revolution, for more but here is a moving excerpt:
It’s so hard to vote in New York that other states cite it as an example to justify cutting back or repealing their own voting rights legislation. When we don’t defend voting rights in New York, it makes it that much harder to protect eligible voters in North Carolina, Alabama and Ohio.
And voters in other states badly need our support to reverse felony disenfranchisement and combat voter ID laws, both of which are big and unfair burdens on black voters. New York should be a guardian of core democratic values and a model for the rest of the country. Voting should be accessible for all eligible citizens, whether they live in a rural area, suburban town or crowded city.
Here is a half hour discussion with Hazel Dukes put together by the Center for Urban Education Policy at the City University of New York Graduate Center: