New York Makes Unprecedented Primary Move

It has canceled the Democratic primary
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2020 12:45 PM CDT
New York Makes Unprecedented Primary Move
In this March 12 file photo, Joe Biden speaks about the coronavirus in Wilmington, Del.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

New York's Democratic presidential primary has been axed—making it the first state to make such a move. The two Democrats on the New York State Board of Elections said it wasn't worth the risk of spreading the coronavirus just to hold "essentially a beauty contest," as Democratic co-chair Douglas Kellner put it. The primary was to take place April 28 but had been pushed until June 23. The Hill reports that while Sanders hasn't officially ended his campaign with the Federal Elections Commission, New York on April 13 gave the State Board of Elections the ability to pull a candidate from the ballot if they suspend their campaign, something Sanders had done five days prior. But the Sanders campaign has argued that the law was written in the present tense, making its retroactive application improper.

The New York Times explains that Sanders and his supporters wanted to continue to gain delegates to strengthen their influence on the party platform at the Democratic National Convention. To that end, his supporters emailed and called the two Democrats on the board to push to keep him on the ballot and keep the primary in place. Kellner said he read thousands of emails before casting his Monday vote against the primary, which he called "unnecessary and, indeed, frivolous." Voting for congressional and state-level races only will take place in about two-thirds of the state's counties—the others had no such contests on their ballot. NBC New York reports Commissioner Andrew Spano said there was a purpose in letting voters weigh in on contested races but not to "have anyone on the ballot just for the purposes of issues at a convention." (More Election 2020 stories.)

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