Polling sites but no election? What’s going on?

Federal primaries are on Tuesday in New York State. Our Congresswoman, Nydia Velázquez, faces no opposition for the Democratic nomination; neither does our US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand; there are no Republicans fighting for that party’s nomination either. And when there’s only one candidate per party, there is no need for a primary.

So why are East River lobbies getting prepped for polling sites? Well it turns out that someone got signatures on an “opportunity to ballot” petition for the Reform Party to set up a write-in for US Congress NY-7. Because there are so few registered members of the Reform Party, it likely took fewer than five signatures to make this happen. That’s right — with New York’s crazy system of third parties, and because Albany won’t set state primaries and federal primaries for the same date, just a handful of people can trigger a multi-million-dollar polling place rollout.

Here’s the thing, though: unlike Democratic and Republican parties, the Reform Party has an open primary for anyone who is registered to vote but not enrolled in a political party. If that’s you, and you’ve never been able to vote in a primary before, your big chance comes Tuesday. Polls are open 6:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Sample ballot for Tuesday’s Reform Party write-in for NY-7. Choose wisely!