The association that represents elections commissioners in New York is urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature to postpone the state’s April 28 presidential primary to June 23.
The move would also postpone special elections, including a congressional race in western New York and a Syracuse-area state Senate, to June as well.
The commissioners are also urging state officials to give local boards of elections more flexibility in consolidating polling places and election districts ahead of the June vote, which for now is scheduled for congressional and state-level primaries.
And the commissioners are calling for a change to the state’s absentee balloting law that would allow for ballots to be distributed during a declared state of emergency due to a disease or pandemic.
Elections commissioners are working with a tight timeframe.
“We are facing critical shortages of inspectors and polling places due to the ongoing public health crisis,” the association said in a statement. “Over the next week, BOEs will find it almost impossible to meet mission critical deadlines for testing machines and preparing ballots because of staff shortages due to the ongoing stay-at-home order.”
For now, Cuomo has not embraced a push to change the presidential primary date, though several lawmakers have introduced legislation to do so while also expanding the criteria for absentee balloting.
A top aide to the governor, Melissa DeRosa, said on Monday the administration was reviewing how absentee balloting could be expanded through executive order.
Cuomo has shown a willingness to re-arrange the election calendar due to the crisis by reducing the number of petition signatures needed to qualify for the ballot in June.