I voted Sticker

In a bold move nominally made to further stem the spread of the coronavirus, the New York State Board of Elections decided on Monday to cancel the state's Democratic presidential primary, which was to be held in June. 

Several states have postponed their primaries or created strategies to discourage in-person voting by pushing mail-in ballots, but New York is the first to outright cancel its primary. While the plan was under discussion, former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' campaign had come out against it, hoping to stay on the ballot to accumulate more delegates (likely quite a bit in New York) for a more powerful position at the Democratic National Convention later this year. But the state's Board of Elections decided to remove Sanders from the ballot, in effect canceling the primary. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden, already the presumptive Democratic nominee after Sanders endorsed him earlier this month, is now the only candidate on the ballot, presumably making him the de facto winner. 

According to the New York Times, 20 of New York's 62 counties have no other contests slated for voting on June 23, rendering the date effectively meaningless now for those counties. However, Tompkins County is not one of them, and the date is actually fairly significant in the local political landscape. Democratic primaries are being held for Tompkins County District Attorney, Ithaca City Judge, and the seven-way contest for the Democratic nomination to replace Barbara Lifton as the New York State Assembly's representative of the 125th district.

"The Democratic Primary Election for Tompkins County District Attorney and City of Ithaca City Court Judge will go on as planned on June 23," Democratic Election Commissioner Stephen DeWitt. 

That leaves the State Assembly race as the most prominent local election still in question, though it seems likely that election will continue.  According to an official quoted in the aforementioned New York Times story, the goal is to have other primary elections still held on that date, although without the opportunity to choose a presidential candidate it is easily surmised that turnout will be significantly lower than it would have been if that was an option. Traditionally, turnout in Tompkins County is much lower in off-year primary elections than it is in years with presidential elections, so the impact of removing a presidential candidate choice could have implications for the other races held that day. 

Some candidates, like Ithaca Common Council member Seph Murtagh, have already called for mail-in ballots to be introduced as the premier manner of voting to avoid public contact. Fellow candidate Anna Kelles put together a video on Facebook showing people how to apply for absentee ballots in response to an executive order from Governor Andrew Cuomo that told boards of elections to mail absentee applications to all registered voters to ease mail-in voting. 

(4) comments

Kris Merschrod

Well, considering that NY is safely democratic, Bernie supporters can express their displeasure with this move by, obviously DINO party elites, but not voting for the presidential candidate of party choice, but not voting on that line but on all others. The under count on that line would reflect displeasure!

Kris Merschrod

On second thought, as long as we will go to the polls, we should NOT leave a blank in the Presidential box WE SHOULD WRITE IN BERNIE SO THAT OUR VOTE IS PERFECTLY CLEAR!

Timothy Lillard

This is one more datum of evidence that democracy is anathema to political parties, and for why political parties should be expunged from the NY State Constitution. Parties are about wealth-backed insiders keeping everyone else out, the ultimate corporate lobbies. They build walls between us and our representatives. They are no better than the mafia, making sure that all decisions serve their true backers and exploit the rest of us.

They gerrymander our districts, make our elected representatives tow the party line against the wishes of their districts, give ladders to the corporate lads and chutes to the rest of us, and make up the commissioners of the Board of Elections, who have knocked everyone but Biden off the Democratic Party's ballot. Even with a shoo-in candidate from party central, they panicked to squelch what messages we might send via the presidential primary. Just like the Republican Party! And Putin and the old USSR.

Thanks to the virus AND the Board of Elections, I expect turnout will be much lower than it would have been, for both the primary and the November election, and that candidates who obsequiously follow the party line will get the money and win. For party hierarchies, who constitute the NY State Board of Elections, this is heaven; for us, the opposite.

The people will only govern when anyone can propose law, when everyone can vote on everything, and when legislators act in accord with their districts. Our political parties fight all of these principles.

Kris Merschrod

Right on Tim, these DINOs and RINOS have been a pox on all houses!

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