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Time for a national primary

Time for a national primary

Too many voters, including New Yorkers, left out of presidential selection process until it's too la

By the time residents of New York get a say in the presidential selection process, about the only thing left for us to do will be to blow up red, white and blue balloons.

The process for nominating the candidates for president is outdated, convoluted and unfair to a vast majority of citizens in the United States, including the 19.3 million New Yorkers who have to wait until it's almost over to get a vote.

With almost all residents of the country having access to cable TV and/or the Internet, there's simply no longer the need to have candidates wander from state to state eating fried chicken at local diners trying to show farmers how "real" they are. Today, candidates can reach a voter in a cornfield in Indiana just as easily as they can reach one standing in the middle of Times Square.

Because of national TV networks and social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook, even the lowest-funded candidates can reach a national audience.

Having big money no longer guarantees a win, or even place or show. Just ask Jeb Bush. Just ask Bernie Sanders, a grassroots socialist-leaning senator from one of the nation's smallest states who is fighting neck and neck for the Democratic nomination against a former U.S. senator, secretary of state and first lady.

That doesn't happen in 1916, or 1960 or eve 1999. It does happen in 2016.

Yet while New Yorkers wait in a line longer than the one to get into Disney World during spring break, places like American Samoa, Guam, Northern Marianas, Alaska, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and Iowa and New Hampshire get a voice. Really? Guam?

It's during these early primaries and caucuses where the candidate field narrows to one or two. Even if a few GOP candidates are still insulting their way through the process by the time New York's primary rolls around on April 19, we'll still have had no hand in getting them this far.

By the time New Yorkers get a voice, Democrats will have already chosen 58 percent of their total number of delegates and Republicans will have picked 69 percent. While the races could technically still be viable, it’s likely the top candidates in each party will each have their nomination sown up by then.

Even if the nominations are still up in the air, other qualified candidates will have long fallen by the wayside, and we'll be left to live with the choices of candidates made by many others.

Under the current system, residents of some of the biggest states get the latest input. California, the nation's most populous state, doesn't even get to vote until June 7.

How does a selection process that excludes some of the largest blocs of potential voters help ensure we're getting the best candidates possible for the nation’s highest office? It doesn't.

It's time for New York to take the lead and push for a national presidential primary, held all on one day, so that everyone in all states have an equal voice in the process and an equal stake in the outcome.

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