If there were going to be any major upsets in the June 28 primary, it came early when the state Board of Elections canceled the polling day altogether.
The cancelation of the presidential primary just the latest in a series of actions in the past month from Governor Andrew Cuomo to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. In late March, Cuomo pushed the primary back from April 28 to June 23, then another executive order made it mandatory for all New Yorkers to vote by absentee ballot.
The latest development came as a shock to not only the Bernie Sanders campaign, who issued a scathing statement, but other organizations that did not believe the action was necessary or invited by the public.
“Today’s decision by the State of New York Board of Elections is an outrage, a serious blow to American democracy, and must be overturned by the DNC,” Jeff Weaver, a senior advisor to Sanders, said. “Just last week Vice President Joe Biden warned the American people that President Trump could use the current crisis as an excuse to postpone the November election. Well, he now has a precedent thanks to New York state.”
The DNC told Reuters, however, that the DNC does not oversee decisions on state primaries, but reviews changes to how states allocate delegates.
Although Sanders had suspended his campaign early in April, the candidate had still wanted to remain on the ballot. The BOE, however, felt that with Joe Biden as the presumptive winner of the Democratic primary, it would be “unnecessary and frivolous” to hold an election, Reuters reported.
As for New York State Board of Elections, there was no mention made about the decision nor an explanation for the unprecedented move made in a meeting Monday. They had not issued a statement as of press time.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, likewise, was silent on the decision.
Additional reporting by Simon Lewis and Trevor Hunnicutt, Reuters.