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Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images
Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

The New York State Board of Elections voted to cancel the presidential primary scheduled for June 23 during a call with the board on Monday. 

Douglas Kellner, the co-chair of the New York State Board of Elections, told CNN the two Democratic election commissioners — himself and Andrew Spano — have the power under the election law to cancel the election.

“In the budget that was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor on April 3 included a provision that any candidates who have suspended their campaign or requested to be removed from the ballot should be removed from the primary ballot,” Kellner said. “And of course Sen. Sanders had suspended his campaign. He did that five days after the law was enacted. And it basically rendered the primary moot, and at a time when the goal is to avoid unnecessary social contact, our conclusion was that there was no purpose in holding a beauty contest primary that would marginally increase the risk to both voters and poll workers.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order last month moving the primary from its originally scheduled date of April 28 to June.

He responded to the board’s vote in his news conference today, saying, “I’m not going to second guess the board of elections there are a number of, I know there are a lot of election employees, employees of boards of elections who are nervous about conducting elections. But I’ll leave it up to the board of elections.”

Jay Jacobs, chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee, told CNN in a phone interview Monday afternoon that he agreed with the decision to cancel the state’s presidential primary contest.

Jacobs said it was a “necessary move” by the New York election officials to protect the health and safety of voters and poll workers.

He noted that the outcome was essentially “pre-determined” since Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped out of the Democratic race and emphasized the need to protect voters amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve stopped all non-essential business. This certainly is a non-essential primary if ever there was one,” Jacobs said.


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