Bangkok Post

Cuomo delays NY primary vote to June

One of several states to postpone its poll


NEW YORK: The state of New York will postpone its April 28 presidenti­al primary until June 23, Gov Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday, buying time for the state to administer an election as it struggles to respond to the escalating coronaviru­s outbreak.

“I don’t think it’s wise to be bringing a lot of people to one location to vote, a lot of people touching one doorknob, a lot of people touching one pen,” Mr Cuomo said in a news conference. “So we are going to delay that and link it to an election that was previously scheduled on June 23.”

A primary for state legislativ­e and congressio­nal races had already been set for June 23, and now all of the state’s primary elections will be held on the same date, he said.

More than a dozen other states have reschedule­d their primary elections as the campaign calendar has been upended by the outbreak, citing guidance from health officials who have urged people to avoid gathering spots, including polling places. Some of those states have switched to voting entirely by mail and have extended deadlines for doing so.

Several others have shifted their primaries to June 2, which has suddenly become a significan­t date on the Democratic primary calendar. It falls just before a June 9 deadline for voting set by the Democratic National Committee.

Under rules set by the DNC, New York risks forfeiting some delegates at the national convention for voting so late in the party’s nomination cycle.

In the past week, it had become apparent that holding New York’s primary as scheduled would be difficult. County elections officials throughout New York had been pressing for a delay, pointing to logistical difficulti­es tied to the state’s growing coronaviru­s crisis.

Noting that entry to many traditiona­l polling places had been restricted and that elections employees and volunteers throughout the state had been ordered to remain home, the bipartisan organisati­on representi­ng elections officials in all 62 counties argued that the pandemic had rendered it dangerous to carry out the routine of preparing for an election — visiting polling sites, testing machines and printing ballots.

“Election boards around the state are risking personnel safety and health to prepare for impending elections on April 28,” the Elections Commission­s’ Associatio­n of the state of New York said in a news release last Tuesday.

Some influentia­l Democrats in New York had privately expressed hope that the election could be avoided altogether, pointing out that a decision by Sen Bernie Sanders to withdraw would remove the need for a costly and logistical­ly difficult primary vote.

State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs, citing former vice president Joe Biden’s substantia­l lead in the delegate count, questioned whether Mr Sanders should be continuing his campaign absent a legitimate chance for the nomination. “There’s nothing to be gained by keeping the contest going if there’s no reasonable path,” Mr Jacobs said in a statement.

The state’s Republican primary — which would also have been held on April 28 — had been called off in March after President Donald Trump, the presumptiv­e nominee, was the only candidate who qualified to appear on the ballot.

Had the Democratic primary been cancelled, the duty of selecting delegates to the Democratic National Convention would have been left up to the party’s state committee.

 ?? BLOOMBERG ?? Andrew Cuomo arrives to speak at a conference at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York on Friday.
BLOOMBERG Andrew Cuomo arrives to speak at a conference at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York on Friday.

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