Sanders calls New York’s closed primary ‘wrong’

Liz Goodwin
·Senior National Affairs Reporter

STATE COLLEGE, Penn.—Bernie Sanders told thousands of his supporters Tuesday evening that the believed New York’s closed primary system is “wrong.” He also predicted he will perform better than expected in the state.

Sanders tried to play down Clinton’s likely victory in New York Tuesday to the packed crowd on Penn State’s campus. (Polls close in New York at 9 p.m.) He railed against New York’s closed primary system, where only registered Democrats can vote for the party’s nominee. Sanders has done better in open primary states.

“Today in New York State if you can believe this, about 27 percent of the eligible voters in that state are unable to participate in the Democratic or Republican primaries because they have chosen to list themselves as independents,” he said. “That’s wrong. Almost 3 million people in that state cannot vote today. And that has got to change in future elections.”

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In New York, residents had to register as either Democrat or Republican by last October to vote in Tuesday’s primary. There were also reports of voting problems Tuesday. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that some Democratic voters had been improperly removed from the rolls in Brooklyn, and called for the Board of Elections to be reformed.

Sanders said despite New York’s “establishment” backing Clinton, he thinks he will perform well in the state. “You know what? We’re going to do just fine tonight in New York.”

Clinton’s team has argued that the senator has no path to the nomination at this point and should bow out, but the senator made a passionate case for why he is the better choice.

“I don’t want you to tell anybody about this, but Secretary Clinton is getting a little bit nervous,” he said, to cheers from the crowd. “This is the campaign that has the energy, that has the enthusiasm and that in November will create the kind of voter turnout that will not only allow us to retain the White House but will regain the U.S. Senate.“


Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally at Hunters Point park, in the Queens borough of New York. (Photo: Mary Altaffer/AP)

Slideshow: Primary day in New York >>>

The Vermont senator, who trails Clinton in pledged and unpledged delegates, touted his wins in eight of nine previous contests and national polls that show Clinton and Sanders’ support tightening.

Sanders, who appeared to be in an especially feisty mood, took several more shots at Clinton, poking fun of her paid speeches for several minutes and drawing boos from the crowd when he spoke about her SuperPAC. Pennsylvania’s Democrats vote next Tuesday.