Art by Janelle Krone
You might have heard that Governor Cuomo tried to cancel the June 23rd presidential primary and some special elections. Plot twist: Last night, a judge restored the presidential primary and ruled that it was unconstitutional to cancel. We’re pumped June 23rd is getting so much attention, because there are still hundreds of *very important* federal and state elections happening on that date! Which elections did Cuomo attempt to cancel? Why did he try? Do you need to get an absentee ballot? (Yes.) We’re digging into all, so buckle up.
Let’s start with this: it was completely uncool and anti-democratic of Cuomo to try to cancel the presidential primary in NY. Even though B*den might be the presumptive Democratic nominee, primaries play a critical role in determining the delegate count for the convention, where delegates help shape the Democratic Party platform. Bernie specifically chose to stay on the ballot so progressives could rack up delegates—and by canceling the NY Prez Primary, Cuomo would have essentially blocked progressives from shaping the platform (read: Medicare for All). But it didn’t end there. Cuomo also tried to cancel special elections for four state legislative seats, NYC Council District 37, and Queens Borough President, all of which are scheduled for June 23rd.
Besides weakening progressives nationally (and being anti-democratic), Cuomo’s attempt to cancel the Prez primary would have likely meant lower turnout for down-ballot races—think this year’s hundreds of NY primary elections for Congress, State Senate, & Assembly. When there’s a presidential election, more people vote (for all the races on the ballot). If you’re a broad, you know that local elections matter deeply, but not enough folks turn out to vote in them. Even though it looks like (as of last night) the NY presidential primary is back on, it’s still TBD if elections will even take place in person, and the state is introducing a vote-by-mail program for the first time, which might depress turnout.
Honestly, it’s all confusing. Here are a couple things you can do to help clarify this cluster for yourself and your friends:
—You DO have to apply for an absentee ballot, but you’ll get an application in the mail (return postage is covered). Don’t want to wait for the mail? Apply to get your ballot now.
—Look up exactly what’s on your ballot June 23 so you’re ready to vote in your Presidential, Congressional, State Senate, and/or Assembly primaries. (And send a cal invite to every NYer you know for 6/23!)
—Make calls for candidates you support. Campaigns have had to turn their field operations from in-person to digital overnight, and now there’s a whole political education component to explain to voters on the absentee ballot process.