New York Becomes First State To Outright Cancel Presidential Primary

NEW YORK, USA - NOVEMBER 06: Voters cast their ballots during the midterm election at the High School Art and Design polling station in Manhattan, New York, United States on November 06, 2018. (Photo by Atilgan Ozdil... NEW YORK, USA - NOVEMBER 06: Voters cast their ballots during the midterm election at the High School Art and Design polling station in Manhattan, New York, United States on November 06, 2018. (Photo by Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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April 27, 2020 2:07 p.m.

New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, has cancelled its already once-delayed presidential primary.

The Democratic commissioners on the state board of elections voted to cancel the election on Monday, making New York the first state to do so.

Down-ballot races will still be held on June 23, though it is not yet clear how extensive the in-person voting options will be. Per the New York Times, that leaves voters in only about 40 of the state’s 62 counties with elections to vote in.

According to the Democratic National Committee, the ball is in the state party’s court to decide how to allot the delegates in lieu of a primary.

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“Any substantive change to a state’s first determining step in allocating delegates like this one will need to be reviewed by the DNC’s Rules and By-Laws Committee,” said spokesperson David Bergstein. “Once the state party submits an updated delegate selection plan, the committee will review that plan and make a determination.”

The New York Democratic Party did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had lobbied the board Sunday to keep his name on the ballot.

A provision of the state budget signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) earlier this month gave the board the power to scrub from the ballot the names of candidates who dropped out. Sanders argues that the budget was signed into law after he suspended his campaign, and that he might not have if he’d known about the provision.

“His involuntary erasure from the ballot, on grounds of a law that was not in effect when he announced his campaign’s limited suspension, would sow needless strife and distrust, impeding Senator Sanders’ efforts to unify the Democratic Party in advance of November elections,” Sanders campaign lawyer Malcolm Seymour wrote.

Though Sanders has endorsed presumptive nominee Joe Biden, he planned to keep his name on upcoming primary ballots to increase his delegate count and influence over the party’s platform.

New York’s primary was already delayed once to the June date from April 23. At the time, Cuomo said that it wasn’t “wise” to bring people into close contact to vote.

On Friday, he issued an executive order to ensure that all New Yorkers receive an absentee ballot application ahead of now just the state and local primaries on June 23.

As of Monday afternoon, New York had 291,996 positive cases and 17,303 deaths, per the state department of health.

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