Polling location at Alice Cook House on November 6th, 2018.

Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Editor

Polling location at Alice Cook House on November 6th, 2018.

April 27, 2020

New York Axes Presidential Primary

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The New York State Board of Elections canceled the state’s Democratic Presidential Primary Monday morning — an unprecedented move to stop what the board’s co-chairman called a “beauty contest.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s presumptive status as the Democratic nominee plus the continued threat of COVID-19 contagion led to the controversial move. It is unclear if Biden will receive the state’s delegates, Jay Jacobs, the chairman of the state Democratic Party, said.

State officials tried several ways to circumvent obstacles to voting posed by the pandemic before resorting to an outright cancellation; including postponement, adjusting early voting dates and automatically mailing absentee ballot applications.

However, removing presidential candidates from the ballot effectively ends elections in about 20 out of New York’s 62 counties –– no other races were on their ballot . As of now, primary elections for national and state congressional seats are still on. Registered party voters can still vote for those candidates through an absentee ballot or in-person on June 23.

The move brought near immediate opposition from the legal team of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) presidential campaign. The team, in a letter to the New York State Board of Elections obtained by the Huffington Post, called the move a violation of Sanders’ “core substantive rights.”

“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,” the letter read.

This piece is part of The Cornell Daily Sun’s Election 2020 Section. Read more of The Sun’s election coverage here.

This story is breaking and will be updated.