Now that we've made it through the 2017 primary, with its low turnout and occasional voting problems, it's about time to focus on the 2017 general election which will...probably have the same issues. There's an important date between now and then though, the day you need to change your party registration by if you want to vote in next year's primary of your choice. Yes, next year's primary, in 2018. Thank you, as always, to New York State's confounding voter laws.

As we went over with the last reminder to register, the rules in New York State require previously registered voters to set their party registration by 25 days before the general election of the previous year to vote in a party primary the following year. That means you need to have your political party picked by October 13th (a Friday the 13th, very spooky) this year if you're registered to vote and want to vote in the primary of your preferred party in 2018. (If you are already registered to vote with a political party in NYC, you don't need to do anything.) October 13th is also the registration deadline for voting in this year's general election, if you're not registered already.

New York, for all of its professions of being a hip progressive forerunner on everything, is one of only 13 states without early voting. We've let 6 states institute automatic registration before us, and 15 of them institute same-day registration while we sat on the sidelines.

"New York has the steepest requirement for changing your registration for elections, and it's done to intentionally keep turnout low," Brandon West, the Vice President of Policy at the reform-minded New Kings Democrats, told Gothamist in an email. "It is much easier for the powers that be to stay in office and for entrenched interests to keep gaming the system when there aren't things like no fault absentee voting, same day registration, vote by mail, and other reforms that clearly have proven to increase participation when they were enacted in other states. Those in office don't want to make it easier to vote because then it's easier for people to actually vote them out, which ought to happen to a decent number of them to be honest."

The 2018 Democratic primary should be a particularly interesting one locally, as activists opposed to the Independent Democratic Conference have vowed to run candidates against each one of the eight members of the breakaway Democratic conference, a group of candidates that will include potential Teen state Senator Tahseen Chowdhury. New York's restrictive voting laws allow for confusion at the polls, and are still tripping voters up after last year's mass confusion during New York's presidential primaries.

Sherese Jackson, a voter who described herself as an independent who became more politically active since the election, said that she was unable to vote in this year's primary after getting misleading information about her party status from the Board of Elections.

"I got an approval notice after changing my party in late July that said I was a member of the Democratic Party, and it said it was going into effect on 8/14," she told Gothamist. "There was no clear date that says it actually happens for the next election," she told us. Jackson then showed up to her polling place on September 12th, only to be told she couldn't vote in the Democratic primary.

"I felt it was misleading, that the voting status should be clearer on the form. Of course, ultimately they need to change the law so that there's no confusion in the first place. That's the ultimate goal," Jackson said.

While Governor Cuomo introduced what he called the "Democracy Project," in his State of the State earlier this year, the package of voter reform bills that include things like same day and automatic voter registration and early voting, is still languishing in Albany. When the bills failed to make it into the state budget for this year, Cuomo told reporters, "If we didn't get it done in the budget, it means you don't have the political will to get it done."

And while we wait for the state legislature to come back in session and maybe try voter reforms again, you've got time to learn about our broken system and get involved in changing it with a reform group like Easy Elections New York.