Saturday, March 28, 2020

Cuomo Executive Order Confirms New York Presidential Primary Will Move to June 23

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo during a coronavirus press conference on Saturday, March 28 signaled that the New York presidential primary would move to June 23. His actions were not official at the time but Cuomo later in the evening issued an executive order postponing the April 28 presidential primary and rescheduling it for June 23.

New York now joins other Acela primary states -- Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Rhode Island -- in abandoning the late April primary date and doing so through executive emergency action. Pennsylvania also shifted away from April 28 but changed its primary date via the legislative process. Regardless of the path to change, New York becomes the last of six Acela primary states to leave behind what had been at the start of primary among the most delegate-rich states on the 2020 presidential primary calendar. Now, only Ohio's vote-by-mail primary -- new to the calendar position once legislation is signed -- will fall on April 28.

But back in New York, Cuomo's executive order  would seemingly end the legislative process that had been in the works. A pair of identical bills in each chamber of the New York Assembly, consolidating the presidential primary with those for other offices on June 23, best lined up with Cuomo's intentions but those and a competing bill to keep the primary on April 28 but to make the primary an all-absentee election all are ostensibly to be left by the wayside.

While this buys New York election administrators some time to implement the changes, it does put the state Democratic Party directly in the crosshairs of the Democratic National Committee. A June 23 primary runs afoul of the DNC rules on the timing of primaries and caucuses. The party sets a June 9 -- second Saturday in June -- deadline for conducting the first step in the delegate selection process.

And while the DNC has signaled that anything after June 9 breaks the rules, it is hard to imagine the national party not bending in the face of the unprecedented challenges the coronavirus has presented. However, June 23 is less than three weeks before the Democratic National Convention is set to gavel in, and that presents challenges in an of itself.

Governor Cuomo's executive order postponing the presidential primary and rescheduling it for June 23 is archived here.

Related Posts:
New York State Legislature Begins Working on Alternatives to April 28 Presidential Primary

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