After weeks of speculation, Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced Saturday New York’s presidential primary would be delayed until from April 28 to June 23.
The change means that the state’s presidential, congressional and legislative primaries will all fall on the same date.
“Ironically, I had been advocating to have it on that date anyway,” Cuomo said during his daily press briefing.
The move was quickly praised by the New York State League of Women Voters.
New York joins over a dozen states that have delayed some elections. A smaller group including Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, Indiana and Kentucky have also postponed their presidential primaries.
The governor's decision came as election commissioners across New York warned they were "risking" their health and safety to meet impending deadlines for testing machines and preparing ballots ahead of the April 28 date.
Local election boards have said they were facing shortages of polling places and inspectors and had called on legislative leaders and Cuomo to allow for increased use of absentee balloting for quarantined individuals and greater flexibility for elections officials to run June elections.
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In addition to the primary, New York State’s tax filing deadline has also been delayed until July 15 to match the federal government’s tax filing deadline.
Cuomo is recommending that the federal government organize a “nation-wide buying consortium” to prevent states from competing with one another when purchasing medical supplies. He pointed to the cost of ventilators which had hovered around $25,000 each, but have soared. In some cases they are now selling for $45,000.
With models showing the highest wave, or “apex,” of COVID-19 infections due to hit New York City in 14 and 21 days, the Cuomo administration is also urging hospitals to stop operating in silos.
“Shift, cooperate, plan as a local health system,” urged the governor. “The local health systems need to change their orientation, so it’s not hospital by hospital.”
If hospitals regionally become overwhelmed, then the state may step in and send patients or personnel to other regions of the state.
There has been concern among many in the medical community that the Governor’s Medicaid Redesign Team has recommended $400 million dollars in cuts to hospitals across the state in the midst of the pandemic. When asked if he still planned to include the MRT’s recommendations in his budget, the Governor repeated what's he's said in the past, that the state is broke.
“Look we have no money," he said.
Of hospitals, he added “they’re doing better than anyone else,” referring to the federal stimulus money earmarked for the health crisis.
The governor also repeated that he has no interest in raising taxes.
Other items of note:
- Every NYC outer borough will soon have its own overflow hospital, as will Westchester and Ulster Counties.
- Pharmacies are being asked to provide free delivery service to customers to cut down on long lines.
- NYSDOH has been approved to conduct anti-body tests, but testing is still not wide spread.
1100 doses of Hydroxychloroquine & Zithromax have been approved for NYC Hospitals.
When asked if he would spend any of the $6 billion of stimulus money to fix the current budget gap, the governor stated, “No. Can’t do what you can’t do.” There is a provision in the legislation that directs the money to be spent on coronavirus issues, and nothing else.
As of Saturday, 52,318 New Yorkers have tested positive, 7328 New Yorkers are currently hospitalized and 1755 are in ICU.