The Democratic presidential primary in New York has now officially been canceled by the New York State Board of Elections due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
The primary had originally been scheduled for April before Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order pushing it back to June 23.
The decision was made during a commissioners meeting Monday.
Former vice president Joe Biden is now the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party after Senator Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign earlier this month.
The Board of Elections’ decision was met with blowback from the Sanders campaign. In a statement Monday afternoon, a Bernie 2020 senior advisor, Jeff Weaver, described New York’s decision as “an outrage” and “a blow to American democracy.”
Mr. Weaver said the decision sets a precedent that could allow President Trump to postpone November’s election.
“While we understand that we did not have the votes to win the Democratic nomination our campaign was suspended, not ended, because people in every state should have the right to express their preference. What the Board of Elections is ignoring is that the primary process not only leads to a nominee but also the selection of delegates which helps determine the platform and rules of the Democratic Party.”
The board’s Democratic co-chairman, Douglas Kellner, said what the Sanders campaign wanted was “essentially a beauty contest that, given the situation with the public health emergency, seems to be unnecessary and, indeed, frivolous,” according to the New York Times.
The cancellation only refers to the presidential primary. There are several local primaries for Congress, state Senate and Assembly ahead of the November general election. It’s not immediately clear how the early voting period will be conducted during the time period currently listed as June 13-21.
Mr. Cuomo, when questioned about the decision during his Monday media briefing, said he would not second-guess the Board of Elections.
“I know there are a lot of election employees who are nervous about conducting elections,” he said. “But I’ll leave it up to the Board of Elections.”
Several Democratic candidates are running to win the nomination to challenge incumbent Republican Lee Zeldin for the 1st Congressional District.
Mr. Cuomo recently announced an executive order that every registered voter would receive an application for an absentee ballot in the mail.
For more information, click here for the Suffolk County Board of Elections.