Bernie Sanders ripped into New York's primary voting system on Tuesday as a betrayal of democratic government that is preventing millions of people from having a say in choosing the country's next president.
Speaking in New York City, Sanders criticized the state for holding a "closed primary" in which voters must be registered with a party in order to cast a ballot.
"Today, 3 million people in the state of New York who are independents have lost their right to vote in the Democratic or Republican primary," Sanders said, according to the New York Daily News. "That’s wrong."
Sanders's attack on closed primaries may have greater force in New York, where there have been mounting concerns about how voting in the state was handled.
More than 60,000 voters previously registered in Brooklyn mysteriously disappeared from the Democratic voter rolls, WNYC reported. Complaints about difficulty casting votes were rampant in New York today. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for an audit after widespread concerns.
And New York doesn't just have a primary closed to independents; it also has the earliest deadline to switch party registration of any state in the country. As Sanders says, that really is making it much more difficult for voters to pick their presidential candidates.
While Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton handily won the New York primary with substantial margins Tuesday, the fight hasn't ended for the state's independent voters.
A federal judge in New York heard a lawsuit Wednesday morning on behalf of "disenfranchised and purged voters in the state of New York," against the state's Board of Elections for obstructing New Yorkers from the ability to participate in the Democratic primary.
"The widespread and ongoing removal of eligible voters from the State of New York's voter-registration roll or assigned incorrect party affiliations in violation of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, and the US Constitution's guarantee of equal protection," the lawsuit said.
"Tens of thousands of New Yorkers face the threat of disenfranchisement in the 2016 Presidential Preference Primary to be held on April 19, 2016 and will continue to be shut out of the democratic process unless and until Defendants reform the registrations practices."
Even for those that were able to vote, the primary process was riddled with inefficiencies and irregularities, New Yorkers reported.
Accounts of broken ballot scanning equipment, long lines stuck behind locked polling stations, and missing names and incorrect information on voting rolls were circulated widely throughout the day. More than 125,000 Democratic voters said they were incorrectly "purged" from voting lists, according to CNN.
"It has been reported to us from voters and voting rights monitors that the voting lists in Brooklyn contain numerous errors, including the purging of entire buildings and blocks of voters from the voting lists," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement obtainedby CNN, Tuesday. "The perception that numerous voters may have been disenfranchised undermines the integrity of the entire electoral process and must be fixed."
Sanders, who has the support of many people behind this lawsuit, called the day a "disgrace."
"It is absurd that in Brooklyn, New York, where I was born, tens of thousands of people as I understand it have been purged from the voting rolls," he told the rally. "It’s a little bit crazy that in upstate New York they open the polls at noon. What happens to people who get up early in the morning and have to go to work?"