The New York State Board of Elections on Monday struck Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) from the Democratic primary ballot, leaving only Joe Biden on the ballot and effectively canceling the state’s primary.
Board of Elections co-chairman Doug Kellner said that while removing the senator from the ballot was difficult, the primary would be “frivolous” if held in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, Spectrum News reported. Board of Elections commissioner Andrew Spano concurred, saying primary activities will be minimized in order to safeguard the health of voters and poll workers. New York recorded 288,000 coronavirus cases as of Monday, with 158,000 of those cases in New York City and thousands more in the greater metropolitan area.
New York mayor Bill de Blasio, who had endorsed Sanders in the primary, announced his support for the decision.
“I think keeping the election activity to a minimum in this environment makes sense,” de Blasio said at a press conference.
Sanders announced earlier in April that he was dropping out of the primary, but that he would remain on state ballots in order to gain as many delegates as possible in advance of the Democratic National Convention, with the hope of influencing the convention’s policy platform. Kellner dismissed Sanders supporters as wanting a “beauty contest,” and said that Joe Biden “has effectively won the New York State primary.”
Sanders adviser Jeff Weaver called the decision an “outrage.”
“No one asked New York to cancel the election. The DNC didn’t request it. The Biden campaign didn’t request it,” Weaver said. “And our campaign communicated that we wanted to remain on the ballot.”
Sanders had initially resisted dropping out of the primary following major Biden victories in key states, including Michigan and Florida.