Central New York activist, self-made businessman and former congressional candidate,  Martin Babinec recently penned an op-ed in the "New York Daily News" entitled "We Pay But We Can't Play..." about the disenfranchisement of independent voters in the election process in New York. Babinec's op-ed points fingers to a system that he believes is broken.

"There's no doubt, anyone who steps up to the plate and provides public service...(does) so at the risk of taking public shots," Babinec said in a WIBX interview.

Martin Babinec of Little Falls, the Upstate Jobs Party of New York. (Professional photo submitted to TSM)
Martin Babinec of Little Falls, the Upstate Jobs Party of New York. (Professional photo submitted to TSM)
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"It is really sad when we see how high the stakes are...yet, when we look at turnout in this primary it is completely disappointing."

Babinec says that in the last set of primaries 13% of Democrats voted and 16% of Republicans voted.

Independent voters - 3.5 billion voters - is the fastest-growing voting bloc in the state - were not able to vote.

Babinec looked at this year's rejection of partisan redrawn lines and an ultimate small turnout as a debacle which he says is "putting things on a path which consolidate party interests," pushing forces to the extremes.  "Both parties fall into this trap...The majority of the voters seem to be in the center," and ultimately unrepresented.

Babinec, the founder of UniteNY, lost a bid for NY-22 in 2016.

"I've taken my lumps as part of my efforts in 2016...I know what it's like to be in the trenches," he said. "We have to celebrate those who are out there doing the right thing...it's not about the money."

Among the reforms Babinec proposes to shift power from party leadership to public:

  • open primaries
  • voter initiative process (voters could put something on the ballot without going through the Legislature)
  • increasing absentee ballots (vote at home)
  • term limits

He asserts that this would get voters more involved in not only the primaries but the general election.

Currently in Little Falls Babinec is working with the Little Falls School District but, he says, the majority of his time and energy is spent on working toward government reform.

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Taking a call critical of open primaries, Babinec says that rank choice voting would also help eliminate some of the disparities and end up with more people going to the polls.

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