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Bye, Bernie: Senator's Departure Will Likely Affect Voter Turnout


JANMARIS PEREZ, HOST: Bernie Sanders has dropped out of the race to become the presidential Democratic nominee. But 23 states have yet to hold primaries — including New York. Ciara Long asks how losing such a central candidate will affect voter turnout.


CIARA LONG, BYLINE: Zack Repko is a 32 year-old Bernie supporter in Brooklyn Heights. He had been working remotely earlier this week when....


ZACK REPKO: The group chat I have with my brother and sister lit up with a lot of crying emojis.


LONG: Bernie Sanders had dropped out.


REPKO: I was super upset, equal parts mad and sad.


LONG: Emily Giske, a member of the New York State Democratic National Committee says that primaries affect more than the presidential nomination.


They’re also fundamental for positions in Congress, the Senate and the state assembly.


GISKE: It’s really important that people have a say, that’s part of democracy and that’s part of what the blue team does.


LONG: But New York state typically has low voter turnout during primaries. David Birdsell, dean of CUNY’s Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, says Bernie’s withdrawal could make things worse.


BIRDSELL: I think Sanders dropping out is one of the factors that will drive lower turnout in this race.


LONG: Birdsell says reforms - like easier voter registration and mail-in ballots - would increase turnout. But...


BIRDSELL: The difficulty right now is that we need to do all of this in a very tight time frame, while government has many more very serious concerns on its mind in the wake of this pandemic.


LONG: As for Bernie supporter Zak Repko, he’ll still be voting in the primaries. Ciara Long, Columbia Radio News.

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