The Republican Party reorganizes during odd years, Democrats during even years in New York State.
County organizations get judged on whether they are effective or not by the voters of their own party. All 200,000 Republican voters in Queens get a say in how the Queens GOP is doing on June 25, or so you would think.
However the party insiders, or the “establishment,” don’t want to leave, and the very last thing they want is thousands of voters heading to the polls.
The system is rigged and built around incumbency. Insurgents in both major parties have a difficult time overcoming the bureaucracy that is in place by party-appointed officials. Patronage is alive in New York and party officials do what they are told or else.
The last thing party insiders want are thousands of angry Republican voters heading to the polls from 18 Assembly Districts to oust them.
Why are the rank-and-file in Queens angry? The election of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, confrontational attitudes towards candidates, the loss of over 1,000 registered Republicans during 2018 alone, and the county opposition to the state party platform, for starters.
These matters and others resulted in the system getting played by the establishment. How does this happen? Challenging signatures from voters on petition sheets by candidates looking to oust an incumbent.
Voters would be screaming if they knew there were more than 25 ways to throw out their signatures on legal petitions.
Shrinking the party size weighs in favor of those in power; less conflict, more control. Average voters think party officials want to grow the party, but that is not so when you need to control it.
Their is a statewide takeover of the Republican Party led by Carl Paladino, a Buffalo billionaire and former candidate for governor. Paladino challenged outgoing state party chairman Ed Cox at every opportunity available. And Queens County GOP leadership parrots every word of Paladino.
It’s sad, but Queens County is being used as a pawn to gain control of the Republican Party at the state level.
Are elections rigged, voting suppressed and creatures of the night nefariously at work to undermine our system of government? Yes! The most dangerous place in New York City is not in Brooklyn or Queens, it is in lower Manhattan.
The danger is how bureaucrats control and destroy our once fair and honest election system. The Board of Elections at 42 Broadway is dangerous to our republic. They not only suppress voting, they do it with great zeal and arrogance.
Thousands of Queens voters in the Republican Party have been the victims of voter suppression and don’t even know it.
The authority over access to the ballot displaces voters not just in Queens, but in every county in New York City. An engaged voter is the only way out of this mess. Voting matters and elections have consequences.
Joseph Concannon is a former NYPD captain, served in Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s administration as Deputy Director of Public Safety, and was a candidate for City Council in Eastern Queens.