Cuomo Postpones New York Presidential Primary Amid Record Numbers of Coronavirus Cases

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) announced Saturday that New York’s Democratic presidential primaries scheduled for April 28 will be postponed until June 23, aligning it with the states congressional and legislative already scheduled primaries.

“We’re supposed to have a presidential primary election that’s coming up on April 28th. I don’t think it’s wise to bring a lot of people to one location to vote — a lot of people touching one doorknob, a lot of people touching one pen, whatever you call the device on the ballots, so we are going to delay that and link it to an election that was previously scheduled on June 23rd,” Cuomo said at Saturday’s coronavirus press briefings.

Cuomo said June 23 was chosen as the makeup date because New York already has state and congressional races scheduled for that day and he “had advocated for it to be on [the June] date all along.”

The governor’s decision came as election commissioners across New York warned earlier this week they were risking their “health and safety to meet impending deadlines” amid coronavirus fears to test election machines and preparing ballots because of “staff shortages due to the ongoing stay-at-home order” ahead of the April 28 date.

As of Saturday morning, there are 52,318 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York, including 7,681 new cases, and the statewide death toll jumped by 209 from the day before, bringing the total count to 728.

New York was also slated to hold a few special elections, including for an open congressional seat in western New York vacated by the scandal-scarred Rep. Chris Collins.

Five other states slated to vote April 28th, known as the Acela Primary have postponed to June 2 or expanded absentee voting to continue on with their primary. With New York moving it’s date to June 23 might be problematic as the cutoff date for the Democratic National Committee is June 9 to hold nominating contest. New York is the second most rich delegate total in the nation with 274 delegates up for grabs. Primaries held after the cutout window risks forfeiting some delegates at the national convention, that is still schedule to happen in July. 

New York joins over a dozen states that have moved their presidential primaries because of the coronavirus pandemic. Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico have all postponed their primaries.

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