In April, New York State election officials canceled the Democratic presidential primary vote in light of the coronavirus pandemic, removing every name from the ballot except that of former Vice President Joe Biden, the party’s presumptive nominee. The state had canceled the Republican presidential primary the month before, reasoning that Donald Trump was the only candidate.
Earlier this month, however, a federal judge reinstated the Democratic primary, rescheduling it to June 23, the date on which New York voters, both Republicans and Democrats, will choose their parties’ candidates for Congress and State Senate and Assembly. Four Democrats are vying to challenge Representative Lee Zeldin in the First Congressional District, which encompasses the five East End towns. Five candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination in State Senate District 1, where longtime Senator Kenneth P. LaValle is retiring.
The former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang sued New York in federal court after election officials removed him, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and several other candidates from the primary ballot. A provision in state law allows candidates who suspended their campaigns to be removed from the ballot, but Judge Analisa Torres ruled that the state’s decision had deprived voters of their constitutional rights. The Democratic candidates were returned to the primary ballot, though state election officials plan to appeal the judge’s decision.
Senator Sanders had already amassed hundreds of delegates, who will represent him at the Democrats’ national convention, which has also been postponed, from July until August.
Because of the pandemic, as well as a chaotic April 7 Democratic primary in Wisconsin, where voters waited on lines for hours, often in close proximity to one another and to poll workers, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered that state election law be modified temporarily to allow all registered voters to vote in the primaries via absentee ballot, even if they do not meet the traditional requirements for voting absentee.
In-person signature will not be required to apply for absentee ballots. Instead, the State Board of Elections will mail registered voters postage-paid applications for a ballot.
Voters should check the “temporary illness” box in section 1 on the application and provide the required information. The electronic form can be sent via email as an attachment to [email protected]. Printed applications can be mailed to the Suffolk Board of Elections, P.O. Box 700, Yaphank 11980.
Absentee ballots will then be sent out. They must be mailed to the Board of Elections by June 22, and must be received no later than seven days after the June 23 election.
Polling stations for in-person voting should be open on June 23, an official at the Suffolk Board of Elections suggested