ITHACA, N.Y. — The New York State Board of Elections moved to cancel June’s presidential primary on Monday morning.
At a live-streamed commissioners meeting, the board voted to enact a provision in this year’s New York State budget allowing the presidential primary to be canceled if the race were to become non-competitive.
While the Sanders campaign does still have political points to gain — capturing delegates would strengthen his bargaining position entering the Democratic Convention, but there is little more at stake and Sanders is no longer, at least in an official capacity, campaigning in the state.
“What the Sanders campaign wanted is essentially a beauty contest that, given the situation with the public health emergency seems unnecessary,” said Doug Kellner, Democratic Co-chair of the state BOE, said during the meeting.
The change does not impact elections for state and local offices. The Tompkins County District Attorney’s race, as well as the seven-way Democratic primary for New York State Assembly District 125.
“The New York State Board of Elections has canceled the Presidential Primary originally scheduled for April 28,” reads a statement on the Tompkins County Board of Elections homepage. “The June 23 state and local primary will still be held. All enrolled Democrats in Tompkins County will be receiving an absentee application in the mail.”
The budget provision, buried on page 303 of the Education, Labor and Family Assistance bills of the budget. This year’s budget was passed with significantly reduced debate due to COVID-19 concerns that unfolded in the middle of the state’s normal budget season. Several members of the legislature have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and it remains unclear if lawmakers will return to Albany before the session was set to end in June.