Today is the last day for New Yorkers to register to vote in the presidential primaries. And New Yorkers are registering in droves. The State’s online voter registration system is experiencing a surge in applications, in just 10 days, over 40,000 people registered to vote online, half of which were first time voters. As Alison Vicrobeck reports, Donald Trump’s controversial candidacy is pushing more minority and female voters to sign up.
VICROBECK: According to the PEW Center, Republican turnout, early in the primaries, was at it’s strongest in decades. And Democratic turnout was almost as high as the last election, the highest in nearly 25 years.
One of the factors motivating people to vote? Donald Trump.
Our Principles PAC: A person who is very flat chested is very hard to be a 10.
VICROBECK: That was a clip from an ad, from the Our Principles PAC. Part of a campaign trying to motivate voters to turn against Trump on election day. It features quotes about women from Donald Trump.
Our Principles PAC: I’d look her right in that fat ugly face of hers… Vote against Donald Trump.
VICROBECK: Mark Favours is the co-chair of the NY Democratic Lawyers Council’s Minority Voters Committee. He says, regardless of whether people are for or against him, Trump’s candidacy is motivating minorities..
FAVOURS: For the black community, I know, that he definitely has energized voters and he will energize voters in the fall. And of course the latino community as well.
VICROBECK: Favours, and many other organizations like his, are trying to get more minorities to vote
FAVOURS: We’re doing a lot of voter registration, there’s a lot of push to register people of color.
VICROBECK:And he’s even willing to use unconventional methods to get that vote out.
FAVOURS: Kanye West had a little pop up in SOho, so when new sneaker would come out while people being in line all night, I would go and register those people to vote. But then, you know, registration is one part, you still need to go vote. (0:19)
VICROBECK: Spencer Kimbell is a professor at Emerson College and the advisor to its polling society. He says, although minorities represent an important group of eligible voters, they tend not to turn out to vote as much as whites. In the last presidential election, only a little over half of New York State’s Hispanics voted. Kimbell says, they’re 15% less likely to vote than the white population.
KIMBELL: They’re also much less likely to be registered. If they were able to move up and get well organized , they would become quite influential in this election cycle.
VICROBECK: Kimbell says minorities make up a big part of New York State’s population. A surge in minority voting could make a big difference, to Republicans and Democrats alike.
KIMBELL: Hispanics make up about 20% of the state and African Americans make up about 14% (0:08)
VICROBECK: According to the Emerson College Polling Society, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are expected to lead in their respective NY Primaries. Unlike Trump, Clinton’s lead has been helped by the support of African Americans and Hispanics.
But a strong showing from minority voters is what all candidates are hoping for. Including Donald Trump… who’s making big campaign promises
TRUMP: I’ll get more latino votes than anybody else. And I’ll tell you what, I’ll take them from HIllary Clinton.
VICROBECK: New Yorkers have until end of day today to register, if they want to vote in the primaries coming up on April 19th.
Alison Vicrobeck, Columbia Radio News