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NY removes Sanders from ballot, cancels Democratic primary: ‘The presidential contest is over’

A ballot for the New Hampshire primary is entered into a machine at a polling site, Feb. 9, 2016, in Nashua, N.H. (Voice Of America/Released)
April 27, 2020

New York canceled its Democratic presidential primary on Monday, becoming the first state to do so.

New York’s Board of Elections voted on Monday to remove Bernie Sanders’ name from the ballot and cancel the primary, which was scheduled to take place June 23, noting that it was a difficult but necessary decision, New York Times reported.

“I think it’s time for us to recognize that the presidential contest is over,” the board’s commissioner Doug Kellner explained, as CNBC reported.

Kellner said the board had received thousands of emails from Sanders’ supporters calling on the board to hold the election as scheduled, but the board ultimately decided against it.

“What the Sanders campaign wanted is essentially a beauty contest that, given the situation with the public health emergency, seems to be unnecessary and, indeed, frivolous,” Kellner said.

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Bernie Sanders’ campaign released a statement criticizing the canceled vote, calling it “an outrage, a blow to American democracy.”

“Today’s decision by the State of New York Board of Elections is an outrage, a blow to American democracy, and must be overturned by the D.N.C.,” said Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to the Sanders campaign. “Just last week Vice President Biden warned the American people that President Trump could use the current crisis as an excuse to postpone the November election. Well, he now has a precedent thanks to New York state.”

“While we understood 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,” Weaver added. “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 election was originally scheduled for April 28 and was moved to June 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Congressional and state-level primary voting will still be held on the same day. Gov. Andrew Cuomo had issued an executive order mandating absentee ballot applications be sent to every voter.

The state’s Republican presidential primary was canceled in February when no candidates qualified to run against President Trump.

The voting cancelation comes just one day after Cuomo announced a multi-step phase for reopening the state, which will begin with resuming construction and manufacturing activities deemed low risk.

The second phase of the governor’s plan includes reopening more businesses in order of essential priority and risk of infection. Businesses deemed most essential with low risks of infection to employees and customers will be permitted to reopen first.

As of Monday afternoon, New York has 291,996 confirmed coronavirus cases and 22,585 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University’s latest tracking data. The state has also conducted 805,350 coronavirus tests.

The U.S. has 979,077 confirmed coronavirus cases and 55,563 deaths, and a total of 5,434,943 coronavirus tests nationwide.