An estimated 15,000 New Yorkers have recently enrolled or re-enrolled as Democrats to vote in that party’s primary for mayor in June — including Republicans who switched over, the Post has learned.
In a city dominated by Democrats, that party’s primary on June 22 will most likely determine who will be the next mayor.
The Post recently reported that a group called Be Counted NYC has waged a multi-million dollar campaign to persuade more moderate and conservative registered independents and Republicans to re-enroll as Democrats to have more a say in the mayoral election, arguing that a candidate running on the Republican line wouldn’t stand a chance in the general election.
The Be Counted NYC group has bombarded unaffiliated and registered Republican voters with mail, text messages and phone calls since December to re-enroll as Democrats. The deadline to do so is Feb. 14.
According to the city Board of Elections, 7,156 New York City voters switched their allegiance to the Democratic Party between Jan. 2 and Feb. 4 of this year.
The tally shows that 2,426 registered Republicans and 4,730 voters registered as “blank” or unaffiliated with a party re-enrolled as Democrats.
But the Be Counted NYC group claims there’s a lag in the BOE’s tally and claims that ultimately more than 15,000 will have switched over or enrolled as Democrats.
A few thousand votes — or even a few hundred — could affect the outcome in a close race.
In an upstate congressional race, Republican Claudia Tenney was just certified the winner over Democratic incumbent Rep. Anthony Brindisi by just 109 votes out of 311,000 votes cast.
During the last competitive Democratic primary for mayor won by Bill de Blasio in 2013, 691,801 or 22 percent of the more than 3 million registered Dems voted.
Be Counted NYC said it provided postage prepaid envelopes to tens of thousands of voters it encouraged to re-enroll and the US Postal Service charges it daily for postage each time an envelope is returned. So they’re able to track how many forms have been mailed to BOE by voters as of Feb. 5. — including forms that may not have been received or processed yet by the elections agency.
They are also tracking online voters who enrolled or re-enrolled with the Department of Motor Vehicles via its website . It also has made follow-up calls to voters to confirm if they re-enrolled.
“We are seeing a tremendous amount of momentum behind our effort to get people registered to vote in the Democratic primary, including a surge last week in a single day when thousands of voters returned their voter registration by mail,” said Be Counted NYC founder Lisa Blau, a wellness brand financier.
Blau’s husband is Jeff Blau, the CEO of Related Companies, one of the largest developers in the city.
Republican leaders have slammed the effort to persuade their voters to switch parties, saying a two-party system is vital to the future of the city.
“Don’t give in to those who say Republicans can’t win in New York,” former three-term GOP Gov. George Pataki said recently on WABC radio’s Curtis Sliwa show.
Pataki noted that two of the last three mayors — Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg — won as Republicans in the overwhelmingly Democratic Big Apple.
“Without a two-party system we’re going to have de Blasio like mayors forever. You have to have that check and balance,” Pataki said.
Pataki said the party-switching effort is probably well-intentioned but misplaced because the Democratic Party has swung too hard to the left in the city to influence with a few thousand party switchers, who won’t have much influence in the primary.
“They are anti-cop, they’re pro-higher taxes,” the former governor said.
Pataki said it’s an “uphill” and “very steep” climb for GOP candidates, but not impossible.
“How did Bloomberg win? How did Rudy Giuliani win. How did I win,” he said.
There are currently 3,748,026 registered Democrats, 568,732 registered Republicans and 1,075,189 enrolled “blank” or unaffiliated voters in New York City, according to the state Board of Elections.
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