This past Tuesday, April 2nd, New York State held its presidential primary but nearly no one showed up – turnout was below 5%. This was the opportunity for New York voters to have their voices heard for their political party’s candidate for the White House. But due to a variety of issues, voter turnout was remarkably low.

Here are 10 key takeaways from the presidential primary voting that clearly show New Yorkers deserve election reforms to get them to the polls.

  1. Just 4.5% of eligible Republican voters in New York cast their vote for Donald Trump (just under 132,000 votes)
  2. The incumbent president didn’t fare much better. Joe Biden won with just under 277,000 votes, about 4.3% of Democratic voter support
  3. More than 95% of enrolled GOP and Dem voters stayed home or supported some other candidate than the winner.
  4. Turnout for the two primaries combined was under 5% of eligible voters.
  5. Recent polling shows nearly 2/3 of voters don’t want a Trump/Biden rematch.
  6. Trump won with fewer votes than people that live in Syracuse!
  7. Biden won with fewer votes than people that live in Oyster Bay!
  8. 8x the number of voters were legally barred from voting than actually showed up.
  9. That means 3.4 million New Yorkers could not vote in the presidential primary. More voters than in the Republican, Conservative and Working Families Parties COMBINED.
  10.  3.4 million voters is more than the population of 20 states.

“Voters in New York deserve better than this. Voters should not be penalized just because New York is one of only 10 states that bar unaffiliated voters from voting in primaries.  If unaffiliated voters could participate in presidential primaries and did so at the same levels, turnout would increase by nearly 39% – more than 179,000 more votes. It’s time to do the right thing by voters and open up primaries to more New Yorkers,” said Unite NY Executive Director Timothy Dunn.

In 2023, the state legislature passed necessary election reform legislation, but more needs to be done, as has been noted by Unite NY’s Voter Empowerment Index. That’s why Unite NY supports More Voice and More Choices through key reforms:

  • Term limits for statewide offices: 80% of New York Voters support term limits.
  • Non-partisan primaries – New York is one of only 10 states that bar independents from voting in primaries.
  • Ranked choice voting – nearly half of New Yorkers want to see this reform expanded statewide.
  • Improved ballot access: New York is the hardest big state to get on the ballot.
  • Citizen ballot initiatives: nearly ¾ of New York Voters support.

These are the reforms that voters want and will go far to convince more New Yorkers to have their voices heard at the poll.

About Unite NY

Unite NY is a movement focused on engaging and empowering voters on important issues of reform that will allow for more voices and more choices and ultimately, more democracy. The membership organization seeks a more fair, open, and representative democracy that results in the voice of voters being heard by evolving the electoral system so that officials put what more voters want ahead of party interests. Learn more at or at