By: Hadassa Kalatizadeh
Republican and independent voters in New York City are receiving letters and text messages offering unsolicited advice about how to get their voice heard in the 2021 mayoral election. The messages urge voters to re-enroll as Democrats so as to enable them to vote in the party’s June primary for mayor — which the letters say is the election which will likely decide the next mayor.
“Many New Yorkers do not realize that the election almost certain to choose the next Mayor is not the November 2021 General Election, but the June 2021 Democratic primary. Why? Almost 70% of NYC voters are registered Democrats, meaning that whoever wins the Democratic primary will almost certainly become the city’s next mayor,” said a letter received by Lou Puliafito, who is a recent Republican candidate for state Assembly. The letter was penned and sent from a group called Be Counted NYC. “But, if you are registered with another political party or not registered with a party you are allowed to update your registration to enroll as a Democrat so that you can vote in this election, but you MUST do so before February 14, 2021,” the letter added.
As reported by the NY Post, Be Counted NYC was founded about a month ago by wellness brand financier Lisa Blau, whose husband is Jeff Blau, the CEO of Related Companies, a major real estate developer in NYC. The group has already spent $1.5 million to reach out to Republican, independent and unaffiliated voters via postal letters, text-messages and phone calls, as per campaign records filed with the Board of Elections.
The letter, which includes a link to re-enroll as a Democrat, continues: “In 2013, about 3% of New Yorkers voted in the Democratic primary and chose New York City’s mayor for the next 8 years. In a democracy, we are all supposed to have a vote in who leads our government.”
Adding more conservative voters into the pool of Democratic voters, may help a more moderate Democratic candidate to become elected. The group’s efforts have raised criticism, however, from Republicans who don’t want to give up just yet, as well as from Democrats who clearly don’t want other party members invading their election.
Responding to a request for statement on Sunday, Blau said, “Be Counted NYC was created to make sure as many people as possible participate in this year’s mayoral election, which is critically important to the future of this City. Our goal is to support civic engagement, every New Yorker should have a voice in this election.”