New York boots Bernie from ballot, cancels Democratic presidential primary

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ALBANY, N.Y. — New York election officials decided Monday to strip Sen. Bernie Sanders from the ballot and cancel the state’s Democratic primary.

Sanders, I-Vt., withdrew from the race and endorsed front-runner Joe Biden earlier this month, but had hoped to stay on the ballot in remaining primary states to accumulate delegates and influence the Dem party platform and rules.

A lawyer for Sanders’ campaign sent a letter to the New York State Board of Elections on Sunday calling on officials not to cancel the contest.

But BOE co-chairman Doug Kellner and commissioner Andrew Spano, both Democrats, voted to remove Sanders on Monday, arguing he has stopped campaigning. They also said it was a matter of voter safety given the coronavirus pandemic.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo already moved the primary from April to June 23 as New York became the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S.

State and congressional primaries will still be held the same day, but about a third of New York counties had no other races schedules for that day.

The decision to boot Sanders, made possible by language tucked into the state budget, strips New York Democrats of their chance to choose delegates to represent the state at the Democratic National Committee convention in August, progressives argue.

“What is the possible motivation here besides trying to return control of 274 delegates to the bureaucratic party?” said Larry Cohen, a longtime progressive member of the DNC and a founding board member with Our Revolution, a nonprofit organization created in the wake of Sanders’ 2016 presidential bid. “It’s beyond belief, frankly, in the current situation that we’re in.”

Cohen says he plans to challenge the credentials of the at the convention.

The state’s Republican presidential primary was called off back in February after President Donald Trump was the only GOP candidate to qualified for the ballot.


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