Jane Sanders, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, called the closed primary system in New York “silly” on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. During the interview, she advocated for open primaries and same-day registration.
Sanders expressed concern over the large number of voters who wouldn’t be able to vote for her husband because they weren’t registered with the Democratic Party and didn’t re-register by the October 9 deadline when Bernie Sanders or his platform were still relatively unknown to the average voter.
“We have a lot of those—probably a lot of those people out there in the crowd—hopefully a small number, comparatively, are not even able to vote in this election because they didn’t change their registration to Democrat last October when they hadn’t even heard of Bernie Sanders,” Jane Sanders said. “Those kinds of things seem silly. We’re bringing a lot more people into the party and the party is shutting the door on them. That seems counterproductive to the long-term goals.”
We're bringing a lot more people into the party and the party is shutting the door on them.Jane Sanders
Sanders went on to talk about how she believes her husband will enact fundamental reform if elected president.
“I guess what we’ve done is keep a very positive outlook and we look forward to changing the system,” she said. “If he is the president and the head of the Democratic Party, we’ll be changing the system to make it more democratic.”
On Thursday, hundreds of voters took to the steps of New York City Hall to protest the closed primary and demand change as frustration and confusion grows leading into Tuesday’s primary. Several voters were unaware of the October 9 deadline to change their voter registration information, some of whom confused it with the March 25 deadline for new voters or previously unregistered voters.
The New York Daily News reports that more than 200 New York voters have filed a lawsuit, claiming that the party affiliation on their voter registration changed without their consent. The situation is nearly identical to the problems voters experienced in Arizona, which is also facing lawsuits over long lines and incorrect voter information that prevented tens of thousands of voters from casting a vote in the state’s presidential primary.